Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

3 Articles from February 2017

  1. We are not Sheldon Cooper

    “Oh, you’re like Sheldon!”

    Given that it is Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week, this seems like a good time to talk about something that has been on my mind for a while. I’ve taken a stab at writing a blog post about this but it never quite came out right. This week, and a recent Twitter exchange have prompted me to give it another try.

    In some superficial ways, I resemble Sheldon Cooper: I am a well-educated and lithe white man with a strong science and technical background, an intense interest in nerd topics, and a dislike of certain social norms. So I get where this comparison comes from, and when I reveal my utter disinterest in romantic or sexual liaisons, the connection seems only to solidify in the minds of friends and acquaintances who, I know, only mean well.

    I’ve discussed previously why I don’t think Sheldon is a good nerd icon. Today I’m more interested in talking about why representation matters, and how Sheldon Cooper is a poor representation of an arospec/asexual character.

    It’s a shame, too, because terrible personality aside, Sheldon Cooper could have been a good representation. Here’s why.

    Arospec people can date!


    Read more…

  2. Let's stop policing the language of sex and romance

    Hey hey, it’s Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week. I already kind of cheated and started blogging about this last week, but needs must and all. This week, not-so-coincidentally timed to follow Valentine’s Day, is all about reminding the world that not everyone experiences romantic attraction in the same way, or to the same degree. And today I want to do this by picking apart the seams we often imagine between romance and sex.

    I recently read Son of a Trickster, a new novel from Eden Robinson. I highly recommend it; go check it out! There’s a fabulous exchange between the teenage protagonist, Jacob, and Sarah; they are sexual partners but their relationship status is blurry and ill-defined at this point:

    “No, you don’t understand. I’m not regretting it. I’m saying I don’t believe in monogamy, but I don’t fall in the sack with just anyone. And I certainly don’t believe in gender the way you do, and you’ve made it clear that you find my ways ‘pervy.’”


    “I’m normally attracted to people willing to push heteronormative boundaries.”

    Jacob felt his eye twitching. “So you’re gay?”

    “There you go,” Sarah said. “Thinking in Western binaries again.”

    “So you’re

    Read more…

  3. The value of looking beyond romance

    I still experience a visceral shiver—yes, a shiver in my viscera—when Spock presses his hand up against the transparent barrier separating him from Kirk as he intones, “I have been and always shall be … your friend.”

    (Oops, spoiler alert there for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Spock dies at the end.)

    There’s a reason that Wrath of Khan is often cited as one of the best, if not the best, of the Star Trek movies. It is a grand space opera adventure with action and drama. It is a revenge plot with an amazing villain who can mug against the camera just as much as Kirk can. And it is a story, ultimately it turns out, about the triumph of love over hatred—except in this case, “love” means friendship, not romance.

    Kirk and Spock are not gay for each other (unless you read/write the slashfics, in which case, you do you)—but Spock literally dies to save Kirk and the Enterprise, and in the sequel, Kirk and the rest of the crew risk their careers and their lives and sacrifice the ship for the possibility that they might save Spock’s soul.

    If that’s not love, I…

    Read more…