Sounds Fake But Okay

Ep 195: Aesthetic Attraction & Gender - A Manifesto

August 22, 2021 Sounds Fake But Okay
Sounds Fake But Okay
Ep 195: Aesthetic Attraction & Gender - A Manifesto
Show Notes Transcript

Hey what's up hello! This week Sarah reads one of her classic manifestos. This time, it's about aesthetic attraction, how it's viewed by the aspec community, and how it ties in with gender.

Episode Transcript:


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SARAH: Hey what’s up hello. Welcome to Sounds Fake But Okay, a podcast where an aro-ace girl (I’m Sarah. That’s me.)

KAYLA: … and a demisexual girl (that’s me, Kayla)

SARAH: talk about all things to do with love, relationships, sexuality, and pretty much anything else that we just don’t understand.

KAYLA: On today’s episode: Aesthetic Attraction —

BOTH: Sounds fake, but okay.

SARAH: Welcome back to the Pod!

KAYLA: M’armalade? 

SARAH: Mm, Good.


SARAH: (In an imitation of the cab driver in BBC Sherlock S1 EP1) M’ORIARTY. 


KAYLA: Oh my God… Jesus. Christ.

SARAH: Do you know in the pilot episode of BBC Sherlock, where he’s - where at the end the guy is dying and Sherlock is like (deep voice) “Who did this?” and the guy goes “MORIARTY”?

KAYLA: I can’t say I had vivid memories of that, but here we are.

SARAH: I think that’s a really great way to start this episode.

KAYLA: I — yup.

SARAH: I hope everyone enjoyed their week off. I hope it was relaxing and not horrible.

KAYLA: Mhmm.

SARAH: Um, do we have any housekeeping?

KAYLA: Well... what I realized, so we’re paneling at Flame Con this weekend.

SARAH: It was yesterday.

KAYLA: But yeah, but by the time you’re listening it already happened so. I don’t know that they’re doing recordings or anything... 

SARAH: I have no idea.

KAYLA: Sorry about it. 


KAYLA: But it's really, lots of really good people on it, so sorry.

SARAH: Yeah and even, even by the time this is up for our Patrons it’ll probably be too late.

KAYLA: Probably not. Probably. Yeah.

SARAH: (croaks)

KAYLA: Um, other than that, I don’t know, we have a Patreon, just as a reminder.

SARAH: Oh. It was just a reminder to the class. Okay cool.

KAYLA: A lot of other podcasts do like periodic like “Hey make sure you’re uh giving us your money and here’s all the perks”. We don’t really do that.

SARAH: (singing) We demand your dollar bills or your coins.

KAYLA: Give me your money. Give it to me.

SARAH: (still singing) Or your pound sterling!

KAYLA: Gimme! Your money! Give me your lunch money.

SARAH: No, we can’t.

KAYLA: They have to.

SARAH: Wait, but, w — I mean if they’re aspec they can’t, they don’t owe you that.

KAYLA: I know they can’t owe — they don’t owe it to me, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t.

SARAH: But we don’t should, though.

KAYLA: I’m just saying that they can. All I’m saying is you can give me your lunch money.

SARAH: Demanding that: Please will you give her your lunch money.

KAYLA: It’s not a reque- you don’t owe me money. All I’m saying is that you have the opportunity and the possibility to give me your lunch money. ‘S all I’m saying.

SARAH: Yup. It’s right there. Cool, what are we talking about this week?

KAYLA: This week, I don’t know that we’re gonna be talking at all, I think you’re gonna be talking, because once again Sarah has become very hyper fixated on a thing and has written a 2000 word document manifesto about it.

SARAH: It is- it is nearly 2000 words.

KAYLA: And so really the rest of us are just gonna kinda be sitting here while Sarah talks about aesthetic attraction.

SARAH: Well, It’s- I mean yes I am talking about aesthetic attraction, but it's also other things, but we’ll get to it.

KAYLA: I did look up — you asked me to look about what the internet said and I have a few things, I don’t know when you want me to do that-

SARAH: That’s good. I wanted you to participate. Let’s just go for it now; what does the internet say about aesthetic attraction? Because I feel like there’s not that much.

KAYLA: There wasn’t too much.

SARAH: Yeah.

KAYLA: Um I just have a few things. I guess we can do a little definition?

SARAH: Ah, definition hour.

KAYLA: This is from LGBTA dot wikia dot org. That’s interesting.

SARAH: What about the Is? 

KAYLA: L, G, B, T, A.

SARAH: What about the Qs?

KAYLA: I’ve never seen it written that way. Ever. That’s interesting.

SARAH: What about the Qs and the Is? 

KAYLA: Anyway.

SARAH: Or the Pluses.


KAYLA: Aesthetic attraction is a form of physical attraction towards a person’s appearance. It is defined as an attraction to the way someone looks or how they present themselves. It is typically based on the desire to observe someone because one finds them aesthetically pleasing. It is often described as a similar feeling as looking at a nice painting or landscape. One way of experiencing aesthetic attraction is a stronger desire to admire or gaze at a person their physical features, their shape, their bearing, how they move, how they dress, etcetera. Um it also goes on to say among allos aesthetic attraction is felt alongside sexual and romantic attraction, but among aspec people, um, it can be different. Yeah. That's like the general. Oh that’s interesting! An aesthetic crush is known as a Swish or a theet? Or a theyt? So not a Squish with a U like a friend crush. I never, I didn’t realize there was a word for this. Swish with a W.

SARAH: Swish~ That’s fun. It is interesting that when you gave that definition, because when you first said it's a physical attraction, I was like “but is it?” but as you continued on it makes sense.

KAYLA: Well, so, that’s a very good point Sarah, thank you. Because, I also found a post on r/asexuality the Reddit, the subreddit and someone was talking about how they didn’t necessarily like agree with that definition or didn’t find it completely accurate because of what you were saying about the physical attraction. Because they’re saying, you know, it’s often described as like looking at a pretty picture and it just doesn’t seem accurate to me. You can look at something and think it looks very nice and still not experience aesthetic attraction. 

SARAH: That’s true.

KAYLA: There’s some deeper emotion tied to it. Um, so they said, they’re basically kind of saying it’s more than just liking how something looks. Then they go onto edit and say, “experiencing aesthetic attraction would entail wanting the object of attraction in your life to some degree or wanting to pursue it in some way. Like all forms of attraction. That’s why it’s attraction and not simple recognition. THinking something is beautiful and moving on is indicative of having eyes that see and not indicative of aesthetic attraction. Saying it is, would be like saying romantic attraction just means you want to say something nice to someone. That’s not what it is and it’s a gross oversimplification. Perhaps aesthetic attraction is less common in the ace community than previously thought.” And there were a lot of interesting comments.

SARAH: I think that’s an interesting point because like this person is saying, like “Ok, if something you think is beautiful is beautiful, then cool, but if you’re like that’s a work of art I would like to hang it in my house” That’s a different situation.

KAYLA: Right. So that’s- 

SARAH: Or if it's a person and you’re like “I would like to save this photo to my phone so that I have it” Like that’s a different situation than “Oh that’s a nice looking person, I’ll like their photo.”

KAYLA: Yeah, there was someone commented and say, “For me it’s less looking at a pretty picture, and more like “wow look at that piece of art that is for sale, I have to have it” I don’t want to fuck it I just want to have it in my house so I can appreciate it often.” So, I never really thought about that, of like the word “attraction” being in there. Because attraction does insinuate kind of like — something different than just looking nice. For me typically I think aesthetic attraction is like just being pulled to like look longer, is like I think how I experience it? Of it like-

SARAH: Like look again.

KAYLA: Yeah - it taking longer for me to like look away. That kind of thing? Like if something looks nice I just look at it and I’m like “Oh nice!” but if I’m aesthetically attracted to something it's a deeper kind of clicking, but yeah it is an interesting point.

SARAH: Well and some of it too is like it depends on how you define attraction because of like — I’ll kind of get into this in my manifesto — but with romantic attraction or sexual attraction, like in most cases, not necessarily all cases, but in many cases you will want to act on that attraction in the sense of like “I would like to date this person” “I would like to fuck this person” “I would like to, you know whatever” whereas I feel like a lot of times with aesthetic attraction, its like you can find someone very aesthetically attractive and have your personalities not jive. You know what I mean? Like, like it doesn’t require that you have them in your life if its possible, it could just be a stranger on the street like “wow you’re pretty”, but if it’s a person that you know, you can be aesthetically attracted to them without it being like— without that attraction leading you to change your behavior in anyway. Does that make sense?

KAYLA: Yeah like usually with attraction there’s something to be done about it.


KAYLA: And with aesthetic attraction, I mean, like there’s just not much to be done about it, you know?

SARAH: Yeah, like aesthetic attraction is a lot like appreciating art and like you can appreciate art, you can buy and put it on your walls. You cannot buy a person and put them on your wall.


KAYLA: Right. Yeah with people there’s not much, it's not like you can be like “you’re in my life now so I can look at you” like -

SARAH: Right.

KAYLA: Yeah.

SARAH: Like I could find a person aesthetically wonderful, but I’m not just gonna be like “I would like you in my life just so I can like objectify you” like you know (laughs). Like not in a sexual way, but like just in a “I think you’re pretty way”. Like that’s still weird.


SARAH: That is interesting. That is interesting context for my manifesto. Thank you for your contributions.

KAYLA: You’re very welcome. And that’s all I’ll be doing today, thank you and goodbye.

SARAH: If you have commentary on my manifesto, please interject. Just know that I will return to my manifesto -

KAYLA: I’m sure you will.

SARAH: - Once we’re done discussing.

KAYLA: I expect nothing less. Really this is like us reading an article and discussing it and then going back to reading is really-

SARAH: Except I wrote the article.

KAYLA: Sarah wrote the article, yeah. 

SARAH: Okay okay. I mean I guess just to start off, like the reason I - this came up was-

KAYLA: I’m closing my eyes.

SARAH: Okay. 

KAYLA: I want you to know. I’m just listening, my eyes are closed.

SARAH: Like I’ve just been thinking a lot more about aesthetic attraction recently because I think it's often overlooked and like you said when you were reading the reddit or whatever it is you were reading, like it's often lumped in with romantic attraction? And then there's kind of this weird situation where for those of us who are aro like you’re kind of in this weird box where if we find someone aesthetically attractive it's almost like our aro-ness is immediately put into question?


SARAH: Which is not cute. Um (laughs) -

KAYLA: Not very sexy, not very cash money.

SARAH: Not very cash money. Um and I think like as we were kind of saying in the beginning but there is a sort of I don’t know if innocence is the right word, but it's the one that I came up with to describe aesthetic attraction because, in theory, as we’ve said with romantic, sexual attraction, or even sensual attraction whether that's sex or kisses or partner or whatever. But, you know, aesthetic attraction is just thinking that something is nice to look at. And that’s so often linked, even in queer communities, to romance and sex in a way I wish it wasn’t, and so as of late I’ve been thinking a lot about how I expereince aesthetic attraction as an aroace person, which is why I wanted to talk about this and full disclosure: this episode will involve a lot of my personal experience and personal-

KAYLA: How dare you, on your own podcast!

SARAH: I know, I know right.

KAYLA: Pretty fucked up of you.

SARAH: I’m pretty fucked up. But I’m also gonna hit on my own personal connection to my own gender, there’s gonna be a pretty significant gender detour that is relevant to my main point and some people might be like “this isn’t therapy Sarah”, but here’s the thing, here’s the thing: 

KAYLA: Here’s the thing, yes it is!

SARAH: I think aesthetic attraction is so rarely given the time and attention it deserves and I think having a conversation about that is important. I would not be so bold as to say I’m kicking off that conversation because I’m not. But I think it would be illuminating for the broader community to talk about it more. Or maybe it is just my therapy hour, I don’t know whatever. I don’t care, it’s my podcast.

KAYLA: This is the thing about having a podcast: it is free therapy and it’s not our fault that you listen to it.

SARAH: Yeah you can turn it off right now if you want. I can’t stop you.

KAYLA: Just a general statement, in general: If you don’t like something stop fucking  listening to it and don’t- just don’t do that to yourself.

SARAH: You know, if you’ve been listening to our podcast for a long time and you find that you don’t enjoy it anymore, you’re not required to continue to listen.

KAYLA: It’s okay, we’ll be okay. It’s alright, we can break up and it's fine.

SARAH: We’re big girls, it's fine. Anyway — Maybe it’s therapy hour, who cares. So, I just for context — and kind of the reason why I was thinking about this is because I find that in general I find that I’m more aesthetically attracted to men than women-

KAYLA: Ha! No.

SARAH: What?

KAYLA: Not me!

SARAH: Yeah, yeah. And well okay, this is why. This is why I was having a crisis is because… I was like I don’t want to be associated with the straights.

KAYLA: I don’t wanna be straight! Gross!

SARAH: I don’t want that! But you know that’s where this started folks. But, so I was thinking about why, because like maybe I am just over psychoanalyzing myself because I desperately want to avoid being associated with the straights, but (laughs) but it led me here which I think I have some valid points. I like to think, we’ll find out.

KAYLA: I will be the judge of that.


SARAH: Kayla will be the judge. So context for me: this is where the gender stuff kind of comes into it because it's all related, kids, kids and folks. So when I was pretty young I started distancing myself from being a girly girl. I did not want to be considered a girly girl. I did not want to wear pink, I did not want to wear skirts. And the reason I rejected that so forcefully in hindsight was because the stereotype that accompanies girls is that of weakness. I didn’t want to be seen as weak so I basically acquired this learned instinct to reject femininity at a very young age. And so some part of me wonders if all of that led me to idolize the male form more than the female form and that's why I find myself more aesthetically drawn to men. This is, of course, irrespective of genitalia or whatever shit because whatever you have in that respect I don't want to see it and that get it away for me. But in general. Another thing this made me think of because I was like “Ugh why am i more aesthetically attracted to men? Gross.” It did make me realize, well I’ve known this but — I have a bias towards women — like the women I do find aesthetically attractive are often the ones who are built, for the lack of a better term, are built like gymnasts. Like-

KAYLA: Sarah, are you sure this has anything to do with your gender- 

SARAH: It does!

KAYLA: -And maybe has a lot to do with you being an ex-gymnast?

SARAH: No no no, no no no. I have a whole manifesto-

KAYLA: I know.

SARAH: I want you to know I’ve read through it and it’s all connected. But this context is necessary.

KAYLA: Okay! This is you as the gif of the guy from It's Always Sunny with the red stuff and he’s pointing at it. This is you.

SARAH: Yes! Yes that's literally me right now, thank you for acknowledging who I am and where I am at this point in my life. So I was always like “Ooh I want to be built like a gymnast” as a child which was like definitely not based in gender to begin with because that was just like ”oh i like gymnastics and I wanna be good at it” and I wanted to look like the talented gymnasts I saw. But like the gymnast build of like no hips, no boobs, wide shoulders is more traditionally masculine and so I think as I’ve like become an adult that has kind of transformed into a commentary on gender and not just gender but like gender and its implied association with strength. That society says that women are weaker and weaker is bad. And so that to look more like a man is to be stronger and so I’ve always been like ”oh I wanna be strong” and so that at its core is, just to psychoanalyze myself, why I rejected femininity because I didn’t want to be seen as the weaker sex. So in the end, my biases on gender, like my preferential understanding of it, all comes down to me just being like “I want to be strong!” And maybe I learned it somewhere, but maybe I didn’t, maybe I’m just like that, but I have it. And I am hardwired to want to be seen as strong in whatever way our society interprets that. But I can’t control how society interprets strong that so if I want to be seen as strong I have to mold to its definition. So that has kind of shaped my entire understanding of myself and how I relate to the world. This is going somewhere-

KAYLA: I believe you.

SARAH: Okay. I just wanted to make sure you were still there.

KAYLA: I don’t have any notes yet, because I feel like these are all things I know about you.

SARAH: This is true, some of these stuff I’ve mentioned on the podcast some of it is more in depth but you're not learning anything new yet.

KAYLA: I’m not no.

SARAH: Personally Kayla is not. Okay so — this I know I’ve mentioned at least in passing on the podcast which is that it's frustrating to me as a person who was assigned female at birth that I can’t really do anything gender bending without going to a full extreme. Because like male is the default, it's the preferred form, it’s how we should all hope to be, Kayla. So when a woman embraces masculinity it's not genderbending it's just her, I don’t know, trying to get closer to this supposed ideal. Whereas when men embrace femininity it's subversive.

KAYLA: A man wearing a dress is more shocking than a woman wearing a suit.

SARAH: Right. People stuck up their noses when women started wearing pants, but over time it became normal. But men in skirts, at least in a broad cultural sense, has not become normal. And that's not an accident because being seen as feminine is to be associated with the lesser form and like that would be embarrasing and emasculating for men, whereas for a woman to be embracing masculinity “its not her fault she just wants to be more like the greater sex”.


KAYLA: Did you know — I learned this— that the Greeks said that women were filled with too much water and that’s why we’re bad?

SARAH: Hmmm.

KAYLA: There’s just too much water in here!

SARAH: Too. Much. Water. Alright.

KAYLA: That’s all.

SARAH: Good to know (laughs). Too much water.

KAYLA: Writes that down. Takes a note on manifesto: too much water.

SARAH: These men don’t want to have too much water! Anyway— this is the problem with the small interjections, they’re just very entertaining but they totally throw me off and then we gotta, we gotta go back into the manifesto.

KAYLA: I just thought that was important for everyone to know.

SARAH: No, that was important. That was crucial.

KAYLA: There’s too much water in me.

SARAH: There’s too much water! One time someone who was pregnant — I was a small child — and I was asked why I thought their stomach was getting bigger and I was like “drank too much water” like I was so sure.

KAYLA: Child Sarah is one of my favorite flavors of Sarah, because what a little fucking idiot.

SARAH: Yeah. Then they were like “no that’s not it” and I was like “ate too much food” (laughs)

KAYLA: You were so sure.

SARAH: I was like three.

KAYLA: You just knew.

SARAH: Anyway. Back to the point. Like there is no mainstream equivalent for the word emasculating like for the opposite of that. LIke when have you ever heard someone say “Oh that’s effeminating” because effeminating is not an insult to women in our culture but emasculating is, or at least it's derogatory or negative like something you want to avoid. And so, we are getting to a point here: I love it when people do gender bending things but I love it the most when men do them because it actually feels subversive. Cause like somehow a man wearing nail polish is bucking status quo but a women in a blazer is just like, I don't know, a woman in a blazer, so I wonder if I look at the so called male form whatever the fuck that means and say “okay I want to look like that” and therefore I will prefer other people who look like that too. And so I wonder if the reason I’m more aesthetically attracted to men, specifically men who mess with the binary a bit and lean a smidge more androgynous is because that is a look I aspire to, but know I will never be able to achieve. Because like I absolutely find myself feel gender envy all the fucking time and I am as far as I am currently aware a cis woman like sure I think about gender but I’m not so dissattached from my own gender at least the one I was assigned at birth that I feel any need to like leave it behind at this juncture. Do you see how all of the red strings are coming together, Kayla?

KAYLA: I do, I do see it, yes.

SARAH: Okay good. Just wanted to make sure it made sense to someone other than me. But when I found myself, or I guess when I noticed that I was feeling aesthetic attraction to men more often than to women, when I started noticing the pattern and it wasn’t just like “Oh i must be straight therefore I must be attracted to men” because that was how it was before I figured out my identity, when I made that realization I got afraid that I was somehow straighter than I thought (laughs) which is absurd on its head-

KAYLA: (laughs) That’s funny.

SARAH: I know. But my brain is like still hardwired to be heteronormative right? It's still hardwired to put things in boxes and assign numbers and labels to things and so my brain was like “ah yes you are straighter than you thought”. But just as I’m not romantically or sexually attracted to women, I am not romantically or sexually attracted to these men either. Sometimes I’m like “Oh!” but at no point has that transferred over to like “I want to put our lips or our parts together!” 


SARAH: Isn’t that a nice image for you.

KAYLA: Awful. That is bad.

SARAH: Conclusion though is that I’m not allo, and so I’m not straight, but gender does tend to make a difference in the intensity of and frequency of the aesthetic attraction I feel, it’s just that for me when it comes to gender and attraction it’s not about parts, it’s about the presentation and the perception of that presentation and so my personal preferability of a certain presentation is informed by biased perception of gender based on the society I grew up in, and apparently at the root of it is little me being like “I want to be strong!” (laughs) 


SARAH: which like played an integral part to my coming to conclusions which gender society deemed strong versus weak and thus assigning value to them accordingly and so it makes me wonder: if I grew up in a different world. Like a society where none of the variables of patriarchy and sexism and blah blah blah, obviously I wouldn’t be myself, like I wouldn’t be the same person, but it does make me wonder if that version of myself would identify in the same way, if I would have parallel experiences when it comes aesthetic attraction or are my perceptions of aesthetics and what is good and what is bad and what is pleasing and what is not, so profoundly skewed by my environment that I would experience aesthetic attraction in an entirely different way and entirely different patterns. And I know when people are like, “maybe in an alternate universe maybe I’m bisexual” it’s all very “hm alternate universe~” but it does make me wonder like, if the way I experience aesthetic attraction is informed by just you know the way I am and how much of that is like— it’s like a weird nature versus nurture thing.

KAYLA: Yeah, it’s— it makes you think a lot about like just how attraction forms, in general. Especially, something like aesthetic attraction that I think is much more available for change, I guess. Like all attraction and all sexuality and romantic orientations are fluid, obviously, but in my mind I feel like aesthetic attraction is a lot more fluid? Like it changes, I mean just think about how trends change-

SARAH: You’re tastes change. 

KAYLA: -and what we as a society find fashionable or attractive, you know, that changes a lot over time and with different experiences so it is interesting to think about why your aesthetic attraction is a certain way, and like if that is something that was just inherent in you when you were born or if it is all chalked up to society taught you certain things and then this happened. 

SARAH: Yeah, because I feel like with other types of attraction, like society can condition you a certain way, but because of how those other types of attraction are different from aesthetic attraction, like those attractions they draw you to action, you know “oh I want to kiss this person or I want to have sex with this person, or I’m going to change my behavior to chase whatever this is” and because aesthetic attraction doesnt necessarily work the same way its harder to just instinctively know “oh this is how I’ve always been” you know what I mean? So it’s definitely a weird little thing, and I think… I mean I guess, to sort of conclude, I think aside from my own personal crisis, which is mine to deal with. But I think on top of that this just emphasizes how connected everything is. Like your gender identity is tied to your romantic orientation is tied to your sexual orientation and so on and so forth. And this might almost feel kinda counter intuitive to some of our listeners because in the aspec community we’re all about the split model and all that jazz, but in the end like it’s all just a big jumble of person and the person is you. And it can be frustrating that there are no clear lines when it comes to identity and I think that's part of the reason why we — I guess we being the aspec community — have all of these micro labels because human nature demands clear lines but in reality no line is clear. And I don’t say this to bash on micro labels or anything, but I guess I just want to remind people that no one part of you exists in isolation, and you don’t have to understand every part for the whole to work. Like I don’t know how the engine in my car works, but I know it’s there and I know it’s crucial part of the operation of the car, and I know how to turn the car on and shift into gear and hit the right pedals and steer. But every one of those parts are still there and I think it’s important to acknowledge that there are many moving parts.


SARAH: And like if nothing else that is what the aspec lens teaches us right? Like learning about the aspec lens or learning about the aspec, in general, often leads people to question other parts of their life like their gender, and that’s because it’s all connected. I want to come up with a nice little conclusion here, a little thesis statement, but I couldn’t because, realistically, I don’t have any answers. I think, maybe all I wanted to say with this is that like aesthetic attraction is a part of our little car engine and it benefits the whole car and the whole fleet of cars on the road and the whole out of control metaphor, if we just acknowledge that and just talk about it for what it is because like we don’t. Who is doing it other than that subreddit?

KAYLA: No one apparently.

SARAH: No one! No one.

KAYLA: I think, I have a lot of thoughts about your wrapping up, but with micro labels like with what you’re saying with how everyone wants these clean little boxes: I really feel like micro labels are the aspec community’s way of like trying our best to get around that. Like: okay okay, you want labels and you want clean little boxes, but also we’ll give you about a thousand of them so we can get as much variety as we can while still playing within the lines that society wants us to. But yeah I think like, I don’t know, I think aesthetic attraction for a lot of people is very important. Like I know we know people who are like “yeah I thought I was bi for a long time but turns out I was just aesthetically attracted to men” or like me personally, I talked about this on the podcast forever ago, like yeah I’m definitely more aesthetically attracted to women, and as I’ve been trying to suss out my romantic orientation lately, and that’s why it’s not in the beginning of the podcast anymore because I don’t know — that’s something I’ve thought a lot about is like “hmm am I just aesthetically attracted to women more, or am I - does that play into my romantic orientation as well?” I think for some people it probably, you know, some parts of attraction don’t matter as much to other people. For some people it’s probably an afterthought and it doesn’t really matter to them, but like you said it’s all connected. So it is connected to other parts of your orientation. And also it just shows how connected gender is. And we’ve talked about this before; that a lot of aspec people are also nonbinary because once you unlearn certain kinds of attraction you’re kind of like “well fuck gender too” and just shows that-

SARAH: None of these boxes benefit me so why stay in them?

KAYLA: Yeah. And like you said the whole nature versus nurture thing. I mean like people who are raised and conditioned as men versus women, the ways we are taught to experience attraction and who we’re taught to think is attractive, I’m sure, you and I both grew up being taught that you’re supposed to be looking at men and we’re supposed to be talking about men.

SARAH: That’s part of the reason too why I was like “oh god am just like I straighter than I think?” I was like “is this just a weird hold over of being raised as a woman” like what is it? Because I felt like as an aro ace, like someone who supposedly — not supposedly — who just doesn’t feel this romantic and sexual attraction I was like - I almost feel like I’m betraying the community if I find a man pretty, I don’t know, you know?

KAYLA: Yeah but I also think that-

SARAH: Which is why I was like I need to psychoanalyze myself.

KAYLA: But I also think that's something kind of deeper in that like I think the community is slowly getting better at, acknowledging that some aspecs, many aspecs do find people attractive, do have sex, do have relationships. Cause like, to go off on a completely different subject, sometimes I feel like I’m not in place in the community because people who are repulsed, or like, not interested in anything are more represented — that's a whole nother thing anyway, but yeah compulsory heteronormativity is a bitch.

SARAH: It fucks with your mind.

KAYLA: It does. It’s not very cash money.

SARAH: It’s not very cash money and it guides how you view everything else. Like everything else is through that lens. And even when you, even when you realize you’re looking through the compulsive heteronorma-whatever lens, even once you’re aware of it it’s hard to-


KAYLA: Well it's just so ingrained— when you’re raised a certain way and then you start to unlearn it, I think it’s hard to know like: is this me? Is it a true fact about myself that I’m more aesthetically attracted to men or is that something I was taught? Like what is real? That’s a very trippy thing to start to try and think about.

SARAH: Literally, to this day, I’m like do I really not prefer the color pink because of how it looks or because I associate it with femininity. I still - I don’t think I’ll ever really know for sure.

KAYLA: That’s like the worst thing about being a human, is like- is what I’m feeling real or is this just something someone told me?

SARAH: Yeah. 

KAYLA: It’s very- It takes a lot of introspection, I think to like, get to the root of why you have certain preferences— there’s just so much. Like my sister for the longest time hated blueberries because one time when she was little she ate too much and threw up in the car. Like she ate too many blueberries and threw up in the car and then she didn’t like the taste of blueberries. Little stuff like that can just like — like you and your fucking peanut M&Ms!

SARAH: I don’t eat chocolate or peanut butter, yeah.

KAYLA: Sarah- baby Sarah choked on a peanut M&M — doesn’t like chocolate or peanuts or nuts now, won’t eat them.

SARAH: I don’t remember it happening, I don’t remember this happening, but I know it did.

KAYLA: Yeah, it’s just like little stuff like that that just stays in your little lizard brain forever.

SARAH: Yeah, well it’s like how earlier when I said, when I was describing how I kind of taught myself to just reject femininity, it felt weird to call it a learned instinct but that really is what it was, because the misogyny of the world was ingrained in my head so I kind of just like, my little brain weaponized that against being a girly girl and it’s just stuck there. It’s stuck there and there's nothing I can do about it.

KAYLA: It’s also just like the non extreme case of I think of like the I’m not like other girls, women just kind of attacking other women. At the heart of that is that same mindset. And obviously you didn’t go that far with that, you just decided that you didn’t like pink and wanted to be strong and just moved on. But I think that’s at the heart of a lot of those kinds of issues. And I know women who think that men are superior, like “I’m not as good at my job than men” like genuinely think “I as a woman am worse” which blows my mind. But it's that same kind of concept that women are taught that they are bad, and that they must idolize men, they are better and then it turns into women being shitty to other women because they’re taught that they’re bad.

SARAH: Yeah.

KAYLA: And it’s just fucked up.

SARAH: It’s fucked up and I don’t- and it certainly won’t change in our lifetimes. But it’s become such a part of the human experience that I don’t know that we will ever be able to train it out of ourselves.

KAYLA: No, I mean its like, I’ve seen so many things about people trying to raise their children from birth as genderless or without gender norms and it’s like- it’s so- how do you even start to do that. It goes down to your language, whether you call your child bud or sweetheart. It comes down to what strangers are saying to your kids.

SARAH: Right.

KAYLA: You really can’t control what your kids' teacher or what their friend's mom is gonna say to them.

SARAH: Yeah, you can’t control what your kid hears at school. And like it’s also just absurd because you know as you mentioned bud versus sweetheart those- bud maybe because it’s from buddy, which is like eh whatever, but like sweetheart? There isn’t anything inherently gendered about it at all. But-

KAYLA: But it is!

SARAH: But it’s feminine, but it’s somehow feminine.

KAYLA: I have a family of family’s friends and the mom calls both her children, daughter and son, beautiful like “hey beautiful” and I remember when I grew up being like “that’s kind of weird that she’s calling her son that” like little me was like “Aunt Jodie you fucking weirdo” like what? What? What?

SARAH: Yeah.

KAYLA: Very weird.

SARAH: Well kids— Kids are just little monkeys. Monkey see, monkey do, monkey internalize.


KAYLA: I have a very vivid memory from when I was very little asking my dad what his favorite color was and he said purple and I said that’s a girl color and he was like no it's fine. Why would you- Why did I say that? Who taught me that?

SARAH: Because monkey, saw monkey did, and monkey internalized.

KAYLA: I know, but good for my dad TBH, for being like I like purple and then learned a lesson that day. Anyway.

SARAH: Little Kayla learned a lesson and she remembers it to this day. (laughs) that's all. Uhhh. That’s all. That was my manifesto. A lot about aesthetic attraction but a lot about gender too because it’s all the fucking same thing.


SARAH: Um, what’s our poll for this week?

KAYLA: (sighs super high pitched) it’s that. 

SARAH: Interesting.

KAYLA: Mhm. We can just open ended like do you find that your gender or like the gender you were conditioned with impacts your aesthetic attraction?

SARAH: The way you experience aesthetic attraction.

KAYLA: That’s such a niche question I feel like everyone’s gonna be like “No. That’s just you Sarah.”

SARAH: No, I do think— I don’t think I’m the only one.

KAYLA: No, I don’t think you are either. I was kidding, I don’t think you’re the only one.

SARAH: But yeah, I am really curious to hear about other peoples’ experiences with aesthetic attraction, especially if you are on the aspec or if especially you’re aro ace specifically just because you know, we don’t experience that other so stuff so, it’s not a more objective view but we’re able to separate it more I guess, like the aesthetic versus the other things. So yeah, I’m just curious. Kayla what’s your beef and your juice this week?

KAYLA: Oh boy do I — Sarah, when we first got on this call got a very long story from me about my hatred for American Airlines.

SARAH: She said “do you wanna hear what happened?” And I said I don’t think I have a choice (laughs).

KAYLA: And she didn’t. I won’t tell you the full thing, but bottom line as I did tweet, American Airlines can suck my ass and that’s an invitation because I hate them.

SARAH: Open invite.

KAYLA: Open invite yeah. I wish we were famous enough that I could just say that on my podcast and they would email me like “here’s a thousand dollars” you know? I think that’s the real perk of like — there’s a lot you know- fame there’s your pros and your cons. I do think the biggest pro is being able to be like I could send one tweet and fuck up your brand and they’re like “~ohhh here’s a thousand dollars~”.

SARAH: I also— There is a BTS video released recently where one of the questions was when did you first realize you were famous and Taehyung’s response was when people started giving him discounts and things for free and Jin was like “we don’t need the discount, I always tell them I don’t need it” because they don’t they’re so rich!

KAYLA: That is very true. That is - I’ve thought about that recently. I guess that’s also an influencer thing too, not necessarily a famous thing. Getting like free shit sent to you or people at the store being like “Oh my god you’re this person let me blah blah blah” Yeah.

SARAH: But those are the exact people who don’t need it.

KAYLA: Yeah, they don’t need that. They don’t need free things. My other beef is men. And when they do things that are bad. 


KAYLA: THis isn’t about Dean or anything. Dean’s fine. Some men out there though.

SARAH: Some men out there are just bad.

KAYLA: I’m not saying I like the death penalty, I’m also not saying all men should be alive.

SARAH: (laughs)

KAYLA: That’s gonna be taken the wrong- someone’s gonna DM me and say mean things to me about that. ANd you know what? That’s fine. At this point-

SARAH: Who the fuck cares! Not you.

KAYLA: Not me! Anyways please don’t DM me I’m so fragile.

SARAH: (laughs) Oh man.

KAYLA: My juice is sushi. My other juice is that I got something in the mail that I was waiting for a very long time. I’m very excited about it and you’ll hear about it next week.

SARAH: Weehoo!

KAYLA: Weehoo.

SARAH: Weeeeehoooo. So my beef and my juice: Guys I have so much to catch you up on.

KAYLA: (laughs)


SARAH: So much has happened. My newest obsession, and by that I mean it’s a ripe two weeks old but we haven’t talked in a while, is Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu.

KAYLA: This does not shock me at all.

SARAH: Did I not tell you about this?

KAYLA: I don’t think so. If it was in the groupchat we have with Padya I probably just ignored it. (laughs)

SARAH: Did I really just tell Miranda and my sister about this and not tell you?

KAYLA: Wow. I guess we’re getting — I guess this is the sign of a divorce.

SARAH: (laughs)

KAYLA: This is the beginning of the end. I mean I was in the woods for a week but...

SARAH: Anyway I’ve recently become obsessed with Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu.

KAYLA: Good to know, very on brand.

SARAH: It wasn an accident but now I’m here. Also I finally gave in and finally made an Army stan twitter account which is juice but my beef is that now I’m spending all my time there and it’s bad for me. My other beef is that my mental health has been garbage for weeks now.

KAYLA: Yaaaaayyyy.

SARAH: Just a nice cute steady decline.

KAYLA: Love that.

SARAH: I had other ones but I deleted them. So-

KAYLA: Great.

SARAH: You can tell us about your beef, your juice, your love for Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu on our social media @soundsfakepod. We also have a Patreon as we mentioned at the top if you want to give us your money for more of our therapy podcasts.

KAYLA: It’s- the options still there to give me your lunch money. Open offer.

SARAH: Open offer. We have a couple new $2 patrons and they are:

KAYLA: Wow a lot of new patrons!

SARAH: Anne Marie, Alexandra Alvarez, Lea, and Shayna Sessler. Thank you-

KAYLA: So many!

SARAH: to all of you!

KAYLA: Thanks for your lunch money.

SARAH: So fun fact we got a new $5 patron and it’s Leah and then we also have Lea, and I’m guessing on those pronunciations but Lea had a German last name so it’s almost certainly Lea-

KAYLA: (laughs) Okay.

SARAH: Well Lea had a German last name and their patronage is in Euros so I was like “Your name has gotta be Lea” 

KAYLA: It's a fair geyuss (guess). Fair geyuss.

SARAH: Fair geyuss. But thank you to all of you, even those of you not named Lea. Our $5 patrons who we’re highlighting this week are Ria Faustino, Daniel Walker, Livvy, Madeline Askew, and Lily. We also have some new $5 patrons. Purple Chickadee bumped back up — Hey Purple Chickadee, we love you! — 

KAYLA: Welcome back!

SARAH: We’ve got Leah — who watch Leah actually be pronounced Lea, because we did once know someone who L E A H pronounced Lea so-

KAYLA: That’s true.

SARAH: We also have Nise Areli? Neese? Niese Areli? I don’t know what type of name it is and so I don’t know how to say it and so I feel very sad and guilty about it and I’m sorry. And we have Mel McMeans. McMeans. What a fun little last name! McMeans! Ah thank you to all of you for your patronage! Our $10 patrons who are promoting something this week are: Simona Sajmon who would like to promote QYS magazine, which is a Slovak magazine for queer people, Rosie Costello who would like to promote sticks, preferably long sticks — Rosie Costello, my dear, my darling has been on vacation. She’s been in several great lakes, she enjoys them very much and she likes big sticks. 

KAYLA: Reminder: that is a dog.

SARAH: (laughs) That is a dog! Rosie is a dog.

KAYLA: It’s not a person, it's a dog.

SARAH: Check her out on instagram @rosietheredgolden, my love, my life. And Hector Murillo who would like to promote friends that are supportive, constructive, and help you grow as a better person for they will provide you with (sing song voice) the tools to do the same with them and everyone you care for (singsong voice ends). Our other $10 patrons are: Jay, Arcnes, Benjamin Ybarra, Table- Nope. Tabletop games is a concept.

KAYLA: I can’t believe Tabletop games, in general, supports this podcast

SARAH: (laughing) Table top games.

KAYLA: Someone please become a patron and write your name as Tabletop Games. Please. Pleaseee.- It could just be $2 for a month. Please!!

SARAH: (laughing) Hi my name is Tabletop games. 

KAYLA: It could just be $2 for a month. Please!

SARAH: Anyway. Also anonymous, my Aunt Jeanie, Cass, Doug Rice, H. Valdís, Barefoot Backpacker, The Steve, Ari K., Mattie, Derek and Carissa, Khadir, Potater, Changeling MX, DAVID JAY, The Stubby Tech, Simona Sajmon— ope no, I already said Simona Sajmon, God. 

KAYLA: This is awful. This is hell.

SARAH: Brain’s not working!! Our $15 patrons are: Nathaniel White,, my mom Julie who would like to promote free mom hugs and her grandpup Rosie having many sticks, Sarah Jones who is @eternalloli everywhere, Martin Chiesel who would like to promote his podcast, Everyone’s Special and No One Is, Leila who would like to promote Love is Love also applying to aro people, Shrubbery who would like to promote the planet Earth, Sherronda J Brown, Maggie Capalbo who would like to promote their dogs Minnie, Leila, and Loki, everytime I just read them in a different order, I don’t know why my brain does that-

KAYLA: Just to switch it up.

SARAH: Andrew Hillum who’d like to promote The Invisible Spectrum podcast and Dragonfly who would like to promote the word gargantuan. Our $20 patrons are: Sarah T. who would like to promote long walks outside and HomHomofSpades who would like to promote getting enough vitamin D. I actually have some freckles because I was outside one time.



SARAH: Thanks for listening! Tune in next Sunday for more of us in your ears.

KAYLA: Until then, take good care of your cows.