I’m again coming back to old topics and trying to say the same thing in new words, in hopes that it brings more attention to this aspect of the community. This post will heavily overlap with my post on love nihilism, as well as an older post about some unfortunate tendencies in pro c spaces that I did not transfer to this blog.
First of all, I want to define the terms I put in the title of this post and explain what they mean. “Bioessentialism” is short for “biological essentialism”, which is a belief that a human’s life is determined and given value by innate biological traits – e.g., if you’re a woman, you’re biologically destined to be a mother, and any attempt to evade marriage and childbirth will make you feel miserable and unfulfilled in the long run.
“Lovecentrism” is a much newer term, first said by someone in the community, in application to our issues. It means making someone’s ability (or inability) to experience love into a universal measure of their worth, believing in love as something powerful and unquestionably good.
And the thing I will be criticizing today is the whole idea that maps make better parents/teachers/caretakers because they are capable of falling in love with children. It spawns multiple more narrow ideas, such as “we evolved to make children happy”, “no real map will ever hurt a child, loving children and hurting children is incompatible”, “nonmap parents actually hate maps because they want to abuse their children, but maps want to love them”.
This logic has multiple unfortunate consequences. The first one, the most global one, was covered in my love nihilism post – it gives people who experience love too much confidence in their ability to know what’s best for whoever they’re in love with. Love is used by many abusers (that aren’t self aware about being abusers) to justify violating their victims’ boundaries, since they believe experiencing a genuine emotional attachment makes them the safest person to be around. And trying to separate abuse and love prevents the victims from processing what’s happening to them, because, if they’re forced to choose between a loveless abuse narrative and an abuse-less love narrative, they might not know what to do.
The second consequence is more related to our community. Centering love and care in mapness erases maps with a more kinky sexuality, maps with traumas around children, and many more. Yes, wanting to help children with something is a positive quality – but this shouldn’t be the requirement for being a map. You can be a map who only fantasizes about violently raping children, is afraid of children in real life, and hasn’t spoken to a child in decades – and you’re still a map, you’re still good, and you deserve support. You’re not failing some larger biological purpose of your existence. There’s no hierarchy of map attraction types with pure romantic vanilla cuddles at the top and brutal violence fantasies at the bottom, and in acting like there is one, we only hurt each other.
The third thing is somewhat smaller than the other two, and I haven’t spoken about it before, but it’s actually pretty rude and uncalled for to claim that you’re a child’s perfect friend just because you’re able to see this child as a potential romantic and sexual interest. You’re devaluing all other friendships this child may have, or want to have, and you’re making yourself look bad in regards to your friendships with people outside of your aoa. It’s okay to feel like you’re less involved with lives of those you don’t find attractive, but you can’t use this to put down others, you just end up looking like an ass.
I’m not trying to say here that everyone who posts or reblogs such things is trying to spread all these ideas on purpose. I understand the comforting appeal of these posts, I understand wanting to say “my sexuality is inherently biologically good” after hearing so many times that it’s inherently biologically bad. After all, I used to run a blog called map-ally-garnet on Tumblr, and I did not think that Garnet (the Steven Universe one) actually had any opinions about maps. But I want you to think about what you’re saying and how it sounds. There are other ways to spread positivity and establish worth of maps’ existence.