Unhealthy Obsession | ASL Ponderings

Video: http://youtu.be/WPZi-Tbj038

AN UNHEALTHY OBSESSION. Nah, don’t worry, it’s not actually a bad thing! I’m sure you were a little thrown by the title, and you’re wondering what’s up, what’s an unhealthy obsession? I want to have a frank discussion about the obsession with the “I LOVE YOU” sign. I’ve talked about this before with some of my friends, and they agree on this. We don’t understand why. When I went to Europe, I was taken aback at how often I saw it there. Like… What? The ILY sign is EVERYWHERE. Everywhere. I mean it, everywhere in the world. From what I’ve seen, hearing people (usually non-signers) are obsessed with this sign for some reason. I don’t understand it. If you understand this obsession, please explain it to me! If you go to a Deaf* expo or conference where there are booths selling products, it is GUARANTEED that there will be a booth that has something with an [ILY] on it. Guaranteed! The expo/conference might even have some booths that have nothing BUT [ILY] products. This obsession is SO bad and so prevalent, I’ve seen Deaf* comic artists make fun of this. They tease about if you see a booth that has the [ILY] everywhere, they’re hearing. Why? Because as mentioned before, they’re obsessed with the [ILY], and everything has the [ILY]. Deaf* people say, “Okay fine, we do use this, but we don’t use it as much as some people do. You’re taking this above and beyond.”

The biggest thing that I don’t understand about the obsession with this is the fact that other countries have adopted this sign, and used it as a way of saying the same thing in their country. Even though it doesn’t work with their language. Let me explain for those who don’t know sign. The picture below shows how the sign was created.

So…yes, ILY works with English. But it wouldn’t work in other languages right? Let’s take Spain as an hypothetical example. “I love you” in Spanish is “Te amo.” T and a. There’s no i, l, or y. Clearly, [ILY] doesn’t work in their language, but they may have adopted it for use. This is where the line between languages blurs, because it’s sign language. It doesn’t have to follow spoken language!

However, I honestly do not understand why people are stuck on using that for “representing” the Deaf* community. I don’t want to have a shirt that has I LOVE YOU on it and is screaming it to the world… Because I don’t love everyone, I’m sorry but it’s true, I don’t. There are certain people that can be really… Difficult to love. I’m not going to say names, but I think you can guess one major person that I would really not have the ability to even… Erm, like. ANYWAY. That’s not the point. I don’t want to have a product that screams “I LOVE YOU” to every person who looks at it. I’m just — no. Why can’t our clothes be representative of other sign, or other art related to the Deaf* community? And not always something to do with fingerspelling or the [ILY] sign. I feel like that’s what all of the Deaf* products are: [ILY] and the ABCs. That’s it. Or something that uses the ABCs to fingerspell the name of a person, for example. But not much else.

Here I am, complaining about there not being any products that don’t use [ILY] or fingerspelling. Before you contact me, yelling about there being some, let me stop you right there. Yes, they do exist. But they’re extremely limited. I do own one! It’s a T-shirt with the design shown on the left. It’s the sign for tiger (if you couldn’t figure that out). This one is mostly to do with the RIT Tigers. This is one of the few ASL products that DON’T follow the ABCs or [ILY]. It comes from a Deaf-owned business, called Handsay. You can find them here. They have a wide range of Deaf-related products! Alright, what are your thoughts on this? Is this sign over-used? Or are you just as obsessed with this as other people are? I’m NOT saying that it’s a bad thing to be obsessed with this, I just want to understand, why?? What are your reasons for obsessing over this? Let me know! That’s all for today’s ASL Ponderings. I know it wasn’t really an in-depth thinking about ASL like my other posts/videos. BUT I promise I will have other posts that are more in-depth about ASL and such.

Contact me or leave in the comments of my video (linked at the beginning of this post) if there’s anything you want me to talk about. It can be something to do with ASL, or anything else. I don’t care! I want to give you a quick reminder that I have a Patreon page, where you can pay monthly to support my making content on this site. I also have ko-fi. You can give an one-time payment of $3, or add more if you want, up to you! I appreciate any support you give me, and to those people who have already given me some support, thank you!

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Published by Rogan Shannon

Hello there! I'm Rogan, a queer deaf guy who has a passion for leadership and advocacy. I create YouTube videos about a lot of different topics - being deaf, queer, reading, language, and whatever else interests me!

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