“I hope it makes other asexual people feel seen and empowered”
BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE BY PLAYFUL PROMISES
In a groundbreaking moment for asexual representation, activist Yasmin Benoit is making history in becoming the first openly asexual person to model in a lingerie campaign. Working with lingerie brand Playful Promises, founded in 2004 by Emma Parker, Yasmin’s shoot aims to dispel myths surrounding asexuality, conveying that asexual people can still feel empowered and beautiful wearing lingerie.
Taking place from 24-30 October, the theme of this year’s Ace Week is Beyond Awareness. Founded in 2010 by Sara Beth Brooks, Ace Week has long been raising the visibility of asexuality issues, but this year, it’s tackling bigger conversations. The message that asexuality exists has been hammered home, but the reality is that ace people still live with structural inequality in the form of invalidating health care systems and ambiguous legal protection. Formerly known as Asexuality Awareness Week, it has rebranded for its 2021 occasion with this vision in mind, and Yasmin is one of the activists at its forefront.
A longstanding champion of asexual activism, Yasmin’s modelling work with Playful Promises is a watershed moment for asexual visibility. She was first styled in their lingerie for Paper Magazine in 2019, reaching out again after this year’s Pride campaign with Jake DuPree and Danielle St James. “A week later, I was in the studio with their team getting cinched into a corset!”, Yasmin reveals.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s hard enough as a Black model in the industry as it is, and queer people – particularly queer racial minorities – are taught to dim parts of ourselves to stay palatable. Being openly asexual isn’t necessarily going to please everyone, so to have the chance to blend the asexual flag into a photoshoot for a well-established lingerie brand is amazing. I hope it makes other asexual people feel seen and empowered”, she continues.
“Expanding the message behind the marketing of lingerie is so important. There needs to be less of a focus on trying to entice someone through the clothing, and more on feeling empowered. Lingerie – or any kind of clothing – shouldn’t just be about looking sexy so that someone wants you. It should be about looking good for you”.
Speaking at the University of Oxford as well as a political think-tank and a large charity, this year’s Ace Week is a busy one for Yasmin. “It’s a busy time, but all of these things contribute towards making things a little better for asexual people, so it’s all worth it”, she says.
Want to get involved with Ace Week? Asexuality Archive has listed a collection of ace activism opportunities to get stuck in with! Follow Ace Week on Twitter and Instagram for more. Don’t forget to follow Yasmin on Twitter and Instagram, too, and if you’d like to read her piece in the October Issue, grab a copy now!
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