And then there’s the representation of aromanticism in fiction. Oh, oh wait. No, there isn’t. There’s sexual aromanticism which is often misogynist (guy players are cool! girl players are hoors who need a man to settle her down!). Asexual aromanticism, however? That’s what you pull out when all your inhumanising methods have failed. The most normal thing in media is wanting a romantic relationship. If someone doesn’t want a romantic relationship (and if they’re not just waiting for the right man~~) they are probably going to commit genocide.
On the flip-side: romanticism is often used to humanise and/or reward a character. It’s lazy and it’s cheap, but it works. Robots want to be human? The thing they want the very most is a romantic relationship. Ex-villain is being rehabilitated and redeeming themself? They’re gonna start dating. Previously creepy/whacky side character starts being more important? Get them a significant other stat. Saved the world? Get a prospective girl/boyfriend. Realised they don’t need someone to be happy? Suddenly: someone to make them happy.
(This is why so many aces have a difficult adolescence. We know we’re different, but so often we don’t have the words for it, and no one understands when we try to explain. And then we finally recognise ourselves in a character on TV and… and they’re a serial killer or an alien, and a lot of people go “well no, they’re actually probably totes gay”. Media told me that — just because I didn’t feel like dating or having sex — I didn’t have the right to consider myself human. I am still — more than ten years on — dealing with the venomous headspace that created.)
Awesome stuff by pippin.. It’s titled asexuality in fiction, but there is a really cool section on aromantics too!