Representation Matters: Asexuality

Asexuality is one of the lesser known sexual orientations, and it often goes unrepresented in popular media. It’s defined by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as “not experiencing sexual desire or attraction,” so rather than experiencing a sexual attraction towards any specific gender or sex, there's no sexual feeling at all. With most media focusing on the drama of a sexual relationship, this orientation is often overlooked and has only a few characters that truly represent the experience of being asexual.

Related: Here's What Everyone Should Know About Asexuality

Jughead Jones

Jughead Jones is a character from the popular Archie comic series and its subsequent TV adaptation, Riverdale. The character came to be known for his quick-witted nature and love of food. In the TV show, his character was notably more serious, focusing on solving the mysteries of Riverdale. With fans of all ages loving his character, Jughead has been a staple of the series.

The original comic was first published in 1941, and it played a large role in many people’s lives growing up and into their adulthood - so it’s easy to imagine how important it was to many people when a long-standing, iconic character like Jughead was confirmed in canon to be asexual. Representation like that does ~wonders~ for one’s sense of validation and belonging.

However, a problem arose when the creators of Riverdale revealed that Jughead would not be asexual in the show. Instead of turning away from the idea of women and romance as he did in the original comic, TV Jughead would be in a romantic, sexual relationship. It was a major disappointment to many LGBT+ fans, especially the asexual community, as they lost the promotion of one of their only representatives in popular media. However, many still hope for a turn around in later seasons to bring back their favorite burger-loving asexual.

Todd Chavez

Another popular TV show, BoJack Horseman, features an asexual character by the name of Todd Chavez. He has a seasons-long arc of discovering his identity and finally came out in season four. It was a major moment in season three when Todd explained, “I’m not gay, I mean I don’t think I am, but I don’t think I’m straight either. I don’t know what I am, I think I might be nothing.” And that didn’t stop the show from exploring his identity and other aspects of the asexual community. Instead of just using it as a throw-away line, the show continues with his story of self-discovery. He’s shown coming out to various characters throughout the fourth season and, in season five, Todd joins an asexual group and begins dating another asexual.

The prominence of the character’s identity in the show is amazing, and its noteworthiness is only increased by the presence of an asexual relationship. It highlights another aspect of asexuality that often goes overlooked: asexuals can still have romantic relationships, even if they never have sexual relations.

Related: 6 Things You Should Never Say To Someone Who's Asexual

Both Todd Chavez and Jughead Jones hold the responsibility of being two of the most recognizable characters for asexual representation in media. They define what the public thinks of asexual people and they may even be an asexual person’s first introduction to the term. And they do a great job! But there’s a need for more characters like them. There’s no greater feeling than seeing someone just like you on the screen (or in a comic). The phrase “Representation Matters” always rings true and asexuality is no exception.

Editor's Note: This is the first installment of the LGBT ABC series by Her Campus Carthage. Stay tuned. Stay educated.