How Asexuality Influences Feminine Expression

Most asexual women take a neutral approach and are not particularly concerned with flaunting femininity.

While there are no official statistics regarding asexuality and prevalence in gender, it is casually estimated that asexuality is more common amongst females. A casual poll on the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) indicates that 65% of asexuals are cis-women, 31% are cis-men, and 4% identify as either intersex or transgender. Also, members frequently report that more women are participating in AVEN discussions, which would imply that asexuality affects women more than men.

Many “Ace” (asexual) women say that their asexuality affects how they express femininity, which often goes against the grain of typical feminine expectations of heteronormative society. 

A popular reason cited is that traditional feminine expression serves to attract a partner sexually. Since this attention is unwanted, some Ace women choose to not participate in  practices like wearing makeup or skimpy clothing:

I’ve noticed that female clothing that is usually considered “hot” or sexually attractive is something I simply cannot wear… Every time I wear something like that, I either pair it with a massive hoodie in the winter or get out of the clothing… I never wore makeup either, as I never saw the point of it…Being seen as a “sexually attractive” female just seems so fundamentally wrong to me on so many levels. — MiraMeyneth

I’ve never worried about making sure I’m showing an acceptable level of femininity. I wear what I want, and I don’t use makeup. I almost feel bad when I get super dressed up… Somehow, I think my mind has gotten the idea of expressing femininity [as] linked to expressing an interest in sex/men. I feel like I’m leading people on, however indirectly. — SpeakoftheDevil

 

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Some Ace women circumvent feminine expression as a matter of convenience. 

Since sexual attention is unwanted, the need to appear attractive is not pressing. Beautification rituals are seen as time-consuming and not worth the effort, and fashions are perceived to be uncomfortable. Instead, a practical approach is taken regarding appearance.

I usually grow out my hair, and then cut it short and donate my hair. I wear a watch often. I think I dress rather androgynously personally, though it depends on the day. I wear colorful closed-toed sandals usually, but I also have formal shoes [that are] not especially feminine.  — QuirkyGeek

I like looking nice… but I won’t bother with things that I consider frivolous or uncomfortable. I don’t get my nails done; I won’t wear heels for longer than a couple of hours. I love jewelry but stick to earrings, rings, and a few necklaces. — Cimmerian

Some Aces specifically do not want to adjust themselves according to society’s expectations of femininity due to an innate aversion to the concept. 

Running counter can also serve as an attempt to rebel against expectations overtly.

I used to cringe when my mother made me wear a dress/skirt… She said it was more feminine than wearing pants and I hated that! [I] didn’t want to be “obligated” by society/culture/media to bare my skin… I have been told on more than one occasion that because I’m a woman, I should “show more skin” and not “dress like a nun.” Why?  For someone else’s viewing pleasure? To hell with that! — Zoe W.

Some Ace women feel uncomfortable about their feminine-looking bodies. 

This occurs with a-gender and trans-people as expected, but also affects those who are cis-women:

[Regarding] my reproductive organs…I would happily remove them. — MiraMeyneth

I wouldn’t call myself trans, but I definitely have some examples of transgender behavior. I wear a binder when my shirt is not loose enough; I generally tend to make my style more androgynous. — Nowhere Girl

I hate my boobs with a passion… I still have times I break down in tears because I just want them gone so badly though. — UglySlothFace

People also choose which specific feminine traits they want to display as “typically expected.” 

Some do so with pride, while others may simply present with indifference.

I take pride in my hair. It’s nice, long, and it’s part of me. — MiraMeyneth

I may not like my curves, but I don’t stress about showing them. If I go to a formal event, I don’t mind wearing a gown that even shows some cleavage. If it looks good, I don’t care if it’s sexy or not. — swirl_of_blue

Overall, most Ace women seem to take a neutral approach and are not particularly concerned with flaunting femininity. 

Convenience and comfort are most important, and there is less of a need to present in a way that is pleasing and attractive to others. If only all women followed this prerogative! Asexual women stand as strong individuals who place personality first over appearance, and they support one another in this endeavor. Although it is estimated that only 1% of people are asexual, the 99% remaining have much to learn about the asexual community. 


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