Autism and conformity

Re: this study/article on autism and gender conformity

Ok, first of all, here we go again, studying autistic people by asking their parents questions.  As if autistic kids can’t answer questions and autistic adults and teens don’t even exist.  (Also as if parents can read their children’s minds, especially when the parent is neurotypical and the child is not?!)

Second, I’m always disturbed by remarks about autism being primarily a male thing.  The casual and continued assumption that autism in females is rare is like perpetuating a myth and shows how little people pay attention to or understand autism in even gender-conforming women.

Third, I am also disturbed by remarks assuming that autistic people are unaware of social norms.  Not all are.  Some of us are hyperaware of them (whether we can decipher them meaningfully in realtime or not, whether or not they confuse the hell out of us).  Perhaps it has more to do with being othered by society no matter what, so why should those norms apply to us?  If we can’t pass as “normal”, if we won’t ever be accepted as part of “normal” society, then what does any “norm” have to do with us?  What allegiance could it possibly claim?

If gender conformity is learned as a way of fitting in (generally, by everybody, moreso than is usually realized), then is it any wonder autistics do not fit in? At some point, autistics have to preserve/ protect some sense of our true self,  some bits and pieces of us just as we are, unmodified.  And I’m not surprised to find that bit of ourselves is often not “normal”.

Autism and conformity, again.  People seem to be fascinated with how these two dynamics play out every time.  As if it’s somehow not the same story as before.

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