Saturday, February 26, 2011

"she's a little funny, isn't she?"

As I was eating breakfast this morning in my parents' kitchen (I'm visiting them for the weekend) my mother began to discuss my recent Emilie Autumn concert experience with me.  My little sister, my mother's youngest child, was subjected to this concert, and Mom heard all about it and saw the photos from the Emilie Autumn concert.  She was particularly disturbed by one photo:

Apparently the fact that Emilie Autumn is as adorable, sweet, quirky, and cuddly as Gir from Invader Zim, and the fact that Jordan reported to our mother that EA and I spoke "for a very long time," has given Mom the impression that Emilie Autumn seems to be "...a little too into you."

I had to hold back laughter, mainly because my mother has no idea why Emilie Autumn and I were speaking for so long.  She never wants to know about my depression, so I never tell her whenever it gets really bad for me.  Why would I bother to tell her that EA and I had talked about suicide and depression?

Then she threw a statement at me with such bizarre syntax that I nearly lost it: "She's a little... funny, isn't she?"

"Funny girls!"
I blinked in feigned innocence at this statement, which seemed more fitting for a stereotypical 1950s upbringing or "proper" Victorian society than it did for a 21st century conversation with a 23-year-old girl who lives independently and is known for being blunt during every conversation.


"Well... she likes girls, doesn't she?"  she replied, trying to sound matter-of-fact.

"Are you saying this because of that photo from the concert? She was just as happy and excited to see her male fans as her female fans. I wasn't special in that sense."

That answer seemed to satisfy my mother.  She isn't against homosexuality as far as I know...  but she seems to prefer that it was discreetly kept behind closed doors. 

But she left me with food for thought.  I've heard many fans, mostly teenage girls, who were convinced that she was a lesbian due to the PDA so prevalent in her stage show.  One girl insisted that Emilie Autumn and the Bloody Crumpets were all lovers and shared one bunk on their tour bus.  But none of them could cite any sources other than their own imaginations.  For my part, I've always taken the lesbianism on stage as what most things presented on stage tend to be- an act.  That doesn't mean that nothing can happen off-stage between EA and her Crumpets.  But what one sees as a performance should not necessarily be taken at face-value.

Against the lesbianism argument (or the idea that Emilie Autumn only likes girls) is the fact that The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls only mentions Emilie ever dating or living with boys, and lamenting the lack of support she was getting from that quarter.  No sexual interest in girls is ever betrayed.

So I did a little research and found out two things that contradict themselves- Emilie Autumn identities herself as asexual, but could also be considered bisexual because she is attracted to both males and females. As she explained in an interview in the June 2010 issue of Curve:
The reality of the situation is that while I enjoy being alone for long periods of time, I do in fact have relationships--but these are based on far more than just sex drive.  And it is true that I don't have an especial preference for boys or girls, though, between the two, I can say that I'm much more into the lady love, as you can probably tell by my live show.
That means that I was wrong for assuming the PDA on stage was all an act.  But her asexual identity also fits in with the idea of a depressed individual in a clinical sense- decreased sex drive is often considered one of the symptoms of a mental disorder like manic depression.

Keeping all of this in mind, I probably won't share the fruits of any of this research with my mother anytime soon. She may never let Jordan go to another EA concert again.


  1. Yeah... Em's definition of asexual isn't exactly right. "I'm asexual so I don't have to choose" is basically what she's saying.

    I never thought that she was into girls sexually, but I never thought it was quite an act either, if that makes sense. It's kind of like the boys at school who act gay around each other because they're comfortable with themselves and each other and they're silly people.

    And the first photo is adorable.

  2. I don't necessarily agree with EA's asexuality being at odds with her attraction to men and women. :)

    There are two "types" of asexuality. The first being no sexual attraction and the second no sexual desire. EA could be both, but I'd assume the first since she says her relationships are "more than sex drive". You can still have a sexual relationship with someone while being asexual, she might just be romantically rather than sexually attracted to them. :)

    I'd suggest to be careful not to suggest that EA's sexuality is based on her depression, because then her sexuality becomes clinically suspect and potentially pathological, which a lot of people do to asexuals without meaning to. As an asexual person I respect that EA wants to call herself asexual, whether or not her asexuality looks like mine. I strongly agree with referring to someone as they self-identify :)

  3. @ Talia- I never knew about asexuality being separate regarding "sexual attraction" v. "sexual desire." I always thought that they were part of the same formula for sexuality, not two separate formulas that come out with the same answer. Thank you for that information.

    As regarding your statement: "I'd suggest to be careful not to suggest that EA's sexuality is based on her depression, because then her sexuality becomes clinically suspect and potentially pathological, which a lot of people do to asexuals without meaning to," there's actually a lot to be said in regard to depression research about sexual drive and depression's affects on it. Since EA has identified as being depressed for the majority of her life, it is quite possible that she never experienced any sort of sexual attraction or desire as a result of it being suppressed by the chemical imbalanced caused by depression.

    While I respect her asexual identification, she also has an identity that she herself still identifies with strongly, even to the point of successfully working it into her career- her bipolar disorder. I'm sure she doesn't want this identity. But when both identities are so entwined in the nature of her stage show and her image as a performer, I don't think it's unreasonable that fans such as myself wonder whether the asexuality is, clinically, the result of the bipolar disorder. It's certainly not an unheard of phenomenon, as clinical research has uncovered so far.