I’m an essential worker and work in a pharmacy during the middle of a global pandemic while living with my parents who are both over the age of 50. I am STRESSED to say the least with limited coping options, basically whatever I happen to have on hand. If you had asked me a week and a half ago I would have said that I was not coping well. The flood of information on social media was overwhelming, but at the same time I was feeling disconnected because of social distancing. Another issue is my family driving me up the wall as we’re now pretty much all on top of each instead of doing our own things like normal. My dad and my sister are working from home and my mom’s pet-sitting business is toast. Finances are tight for everyone and the Texas heat is creeping in making everything even more miserable.
So, on what was pretty much a whim, I created a new twitter account that posts screenshots of acephobes being assholes on the internet.
Even my rational brain is like, “Wait, THAT’S your coping method?” There had been off hand mentions in the past that there needed to be an account like that for acephobia. There were already accounts that posted bad take screenshots for terf hate and anti-shipper bad takes. It’s the latter whose format I decided to use. One thing that was very important to me was that the OPs didn’t get dogpiled on because 1) that’s not very effective, 2) might actually back fire, “Look! all these aces were mean to me! they deserve what they got”.
Back in October some bored high schoolers created group chats specifically to harass ace accounts including mentions of genocide and death threats. After a week in “Twitter jail” they were back to it. Even after the accounts were banned they just created new accounts and continued their harassment campaign until somebody finally contacted the authorities and threatened legal action. With that incident in mind I decided to keep a strict format of censoring the @’s to make it more difficult (but not impossible) to find the OP.
It’s actually really easy to find the original posts. The Twitter search bar works like any other search and that’s actually how I obtained most of my early content. I noticed that acephobes and ace exclusionists used the same buzz phrases like “aces just want to be oppressed” or “asexuals don’t exist” so all I had to do was throw those phrases into the Twitter search bar and BOOM, I had content.
I’m actually really shocked that scrolling through hundreds of acephobic twitter posts is helping me cope with the pandemic stress. I have a few theories of why it is. Firstly, there is absolutely zero reference to Covid-19 or corona virus anywhere on the account. The account doesn’t follow anyone and because of that the only content in the feed is the account posts. I don’t talk about it on the account. There was maybe one screenshot that mentioned it, but that was it. Secondly, I’m not confronting any individuals. Surprisingly no acephobes have popped up in the DMs. If they did I would obviously just put the the screenshots on the account because, yay, I didn’t have to search for new content; it came to me. Also by looking at the text of the posts by itself, it shows how ridiculous some of these “hot takes” are.
Thirdly running the account is very low energy consuming. I’ll spend maybe ten minutes looking for content, less now that I’m fairly caught up and only have to look for the latest posts and people make submissions. Oddly enought Acephobia is does’t affect me emotionally the same way, for example, transphobia does. When a friend of mine from high school’s mom proved to be staunchly transphobic I had to sit in my car and have a private anxiety attack and make a point to avoid the family. If you asked me to make a similar account for gender critical takes and terf takes I would politely decline and then go cry in the corner. When it’s an acephobe saying “aces deserve to be oppressed” I’m just like “whatever, here’s a clown sticker for your pfp”.
I was not expecting the account to take off like it did. Once I reached 200 followers I figured that would be it since that’s what my main has just for existing, but then Yasmin Benoit quote tweeted one of the posts. I’m now capped out at about 430 which I am very okay with considering it’s a very niche audience. When my audience size doubled pretty much over night I had to scramble and change format a little bit because if you’re looking for a specific screenshot you basically have to go to the accounts profile and click the media tab and keep scrolling.
I had thought about organizing the screenshots so people could find specific ones, but by that time I had over 200 posts and there was no way for me to do really do that because, as I mentioned, I’m still working and stressing about other things. The solution I came up with was to group the the screenshots into categories and list the categories, which I refer to as “keywords” or “KW” for short, above the screenshot so the posts will pop up in a search. The categories I decided on were “not lgbt”, “just wanna be oppressed”, “free diagnosis”, “aphobic and proud”, and “arophobia”. I was very deliberate to not include “ace” or “asexual” in the keywords so the posts wouldn’t pop up in those searches.
I don’t know if I’ll continue to run the account after the pandemic passes and things return to semi-normal, but for now it’s given me a break from worrying about getting sick or getting my parents sick because of my job. “The enemy you know” I guess. It’s kind of nice to have a way to be like, “hey, acephobia is real. This is what aces go through on a daily basis. This is not okay and this is something you can do something about.” My little account is a drop in the pond compared to what AVEN, the Trevor Project, and Galop UK do to counter acephobia, but this is what I have the resources and energy to do right now and it has the added bonus of being a very weird, but surprisingly effective coping method for dealing with my pandemic stress. I feel bad that I’ve been neglecting my blog these past couple months and haven’t been able to even do any Carnival of Aces posts. I guess the new account is my attempt to make up for some of that too.
Stay safe everyone.