Shut Up, New York Magazine

November 14, 2012

At the beginning of the month, I posted this little rant on a recent New York piece on kids these days and their fake Asperger’s on my Facebook.

Today, I remembered that I have an autism blog and that it probably belonged here. (And also that I should write something here. Hi, whoever’s left!)

The problem with articles and attitudes like this is that it only further undermines and invalidates people who have been diagnosed, are legitimately working to assimilate into society and succeed just enough that people stop taking them seriously.

I’m really sorry if anyone out there is butthurt because, say, Moby wants to pretend he’s autistic in an effort to excuse the fact that he’s Moby. But don’t call me a liar because I’m just a little too good at tricking you into thinking I’m not totally off-putting.

Also, I had such a giant meltdown over the sound of dishes touching each other a few weeks ago that I wound up sobbing and rocking back and forth with a blanket over my head, trying to block out any and all stimulus. Just in case anyone wants to challenge my autism cred.


Scene: Sarah is suffering from the worst sinus infection ever known to humankind, dressed like a professional fighter trying to cut those pesky last five pounds.

Sarah: I feel different. Kind of like I’m floating. It’s not an out of body experience, but it’s like 10% of an out of body experience. It’s… nice. It’s fuzzy.

Aaron: The infection and the drugs have slowed your brain down to a normal speed.


Aaron: sighs and rolls his eyes

Me: Oh, come on. You set yourself up for that one.

Aaron: I should have said slows it down to a non-annoying level.

“I had 18 teen girls in a spin class yesterday and I think I have PTSD now. Just so you know, I’ll probably have to dedicate half of my session to that.”

But this young woman nails it:

Shit Autistic Girls Do

January 27, 2012

Just before the holidays, this went viral:

And I was like

Eventually, confusion gave way to anger and frustration and, about a week after Shit Girls Say went viral, I went crazy(er).

It wasn’t just that I didn’t get the humour. My own sense has always been off kilter at the best of times and I’m used to being baffled by things that normals find funny. What really bothered me was that I couldn’t figure out why it was supposed to be funny.

You see, pop culture has been integral to my understanding of the neurotypical world, and it’s also played a significant part in my integration into that world. At some point in my late teens, I decided to study the normals in an effort to become less off-putting to the general populace. And, because I was a homeschooler with virtually no life and no friends, I had to use television, movies, books, magazines and the internet as my main source of information.

Eventually, I was able to use my new skills to venture out into the world. I was then able to add people’s responses to pop culture to my oeuvre. I learned a lot of decent, functional stuff about the outside world during this period, but I also learned that women can never really do anything right.

I tried my best to be a good normal woman. I obsessively monitored everything from my behaviour to the size of my legs. And while my efforts were never really good enough, they were certainly better – or at least more successful– than my natural instincts. I started passing as a normal. And, when people started telling me that I didn’t seem like I had Asperger’s, I mumbled something about working hard in therapy instead of saying “I have dedicated a decade, and my genius-level IQ, to little more than studying and imitating your people. Of course you can’t tell.” Because good girls don’t say things like that.

Then people I follow on Twitter started retweeting stuff from the Shit Girls Say account. I kind of ignored it at first, figuring that I didn’t get it because I wasn’t cool or young enough. But then the video hit and it seemed like EVERYONE I knew thought that it was the greatest thing ever.

I just didn’t get it. And it really started to bother me.

I get Cathy and Kathy from Kids In The Hall just fine. I love those skits.

But the point of the Cathy and Kathy skits is that office culture and small talk are inane, not that womenkind as a whole are.

And if SGS is funny because the shit being said is inane, isn’t the implication that girls should stop saying that shit? Or that they’re wrong for saying it?

Certainly, the reaction among my friends would suggest so. So many of them posted links on Facebook and Twitter with some variation of “This is so me. Poor Significant Other for having to deal with me!” Doesn’t that suggest that they think those things are wrong? Why else would they pity their SOs for having to listen to them say shit?

But what the hell is wrong with asking for a blanket? Dudes do that. And Aaron has asked me to pass him something many times. He’s never once felt guilty for doing so, nor has anyone thought to make fun of him for it.

The lines that really drive me crazy, though, are the ones where girls are being mocked for saying things that are clearly a product of their social conditioning, like “Can you do me a huge favour?”

I say that one all the time. You know why? Because I’ve learned, in all of my observation, that women aren’t really supposed to ask for anything. It’s bitchy, demanding and/or needy. And, in that light, even the smallest request becomes a big deal. When I say “Can you do me a huge favour?” I know it’s NT code for “I acknowledge that this favour, small as it might seem to you, is a major imposition on account of my being a woman-type person. But would you please consider it? I concede that it is a big deal. Please feel free to say no. And forgive me for asking in the fist place. Please don’t think I’m a nag or a bitch or a ballbuster.” So, as far as I can tell, women are pretty much forced to be meek by society, and then they’re mocked for that meekness. And then they’re expected to laugh along at the laughing at their meekness, because it’s just for fun! And you don’t want to be one of those women who take everything so seriously, do you?

The next wave of videos, especially Shit White Girls Say… To Black Girls made sense to me. People with privilege of all sorts say really, really dumb shit to people who don’t have it, and it’s both amusing and effective to call attention to that shit and discuss it in a format like this. And yeah, if we say shit that is featured in those videos, we should reconsider our behaviour.

Then that seemed to give way to stuff like Shit Yogis Say and Shit Vegans say, which was more like “LOL! We’re making fun of ourselves, but in a way that we’re actually talking about how much more awesome we are than everyone else!!” Beyond onanism, I have no idea what purpose these serve.

And then we got into “Shit Girls Don’t Say,” the implication of which, as far as I can tell, is that women suck for not saying these things. It seems to be really popular among the “I don’t have female friends because women are suuuuuuch dramatic bitches” set, who love to talk about how they totally say those thing! Because they’re not like normal girls! They’re like dudes with boobs! Which, I guess, is fine for parts of the video. I’ve said some of that Shit myself. But it gets really creepy as it gets going. Why is it funny that women don’t say that they’re getting fat and they should lose weight for their partners? Why is it funny that they don’t wear bags on their heads? We should not do those things. Do NOT fuck someone who is not willing to look at your head when they are fucking you! Or, to simplify things: No head = NO HEAD.

The trend seems to be dying now (although Shit Liz Lemon says, the only video that has truly captured my essence so far, was released earlier this week) and even though I’m more than over it in the fifteen-minutes-ago sense, I’m not quite over it psychologically. Logically, I know that I should just say “fuck it,” and go my life however I want, even if it involves blankets. But there’s always this feeling in the back of my head that those videos were a reproach, and that I should be monitoring and correcting my behaviour, erasing every “you’re the best” and squeal that I’ve so carefully programmed into my head over the years to make myself less susceptible to mockery and disdain. But then, when I try to ask people why those videos are funny, and what they think women should change, they tell me that I’m being too serious and that it’s just a funny joke, and then I get judged for not laughing at the stereotypes on top of getting laughed at for embodying them. AND I THOUGHT THAT I WAS SUPPOSED TO EMBODY THEM TO FIT IN.

And so I have become the Joni Mitchell of autistic people. I’ve seen normals from both sides now and I really don’t know normals at all.

I’ve been told that I’m overthinking this whole issue, but really? “You’re overthinking this” is Shit Neurotypicals Say.

So, this happened yesterday:

And it set the internet on fire!

Journalism nerds are amused/horrified at their state of their calling. Bronies are really fucking excited about this brush with the mainstream and legitimacy.

Aspies– or at least this Aspie– were like “Well, of course. You’ve got to get that shit right.”

I can imagine that the young woman was pretty vexed by this mistake. Special interests are serious business. You cannot half ass your coverage about a very precise person’s most narrow focus.

Heck. It’s been over ten years since the height of my Man From U.N.C.L.E. special interest, and I’d still cut a bitch if they accidentally implied that I was a Napolean fucking Solo girl.

To celebrate this bold step forward in Asperger’s awareness, I made a pony with this sweet generator.

Sullen and surrounded by books. This is my life.

By the way, if you haven’t seen the article about Asperger’s and love in question, it’s worth a look. It’s definitely better than the one I was in.

Aaron: You know, I never thought that I’d enjoy a show like Bones.

Me: But you live with a Bones, and you fancy yourself an Angel.

Aaron: Shut up.

p.s. Hello, peoples! I promise that I haven’t forgotten about you. I have just bitten off more than I can chew. Again.