Originally posted Dec. 2015. Didn’t need to do much updating…
What do we really understand about being human?
Officially the diagnosis of Asperger has been removed from the DSM, but the “state” of being Asperger persists: Asperger-type people continue to see themselves as a group who are different to other people. Not just a little different, but having a specific set of dramatic differences. I don’t like to call these differences symptoms, nor do I think Asperger’s can be placed on an “invented” autism spectrum, a construct convenient for those who diagnose, treat, and get paid for being “autism experts.”
In fact, the more I read about autism, the less I can logically apply autism characteristics to the Asperger Way of Being: our brain is focused on the literal physical universe and strives to understand “how things work”. Our perception / processing is especially attuned to patterns and connections “invisible” to the social brain. Modern social typicals or “neurotypicals” are confined to socially constrained “value pyramids” that actively suppress factual information and require conformity to manmade “word-concept reality.”
Female Aspergers are a recently recognized phenomena; we do manifest our Aspergerness differently to males. We tend to learn and use language more easily and effectively than males, but females are judged by a very narrow and strict definition of femininity, and at the first sign of noncompliance, girls are harshly criticized and relentlessly pressured to become “normal” socially-obsessed girls, often with deeply damaging consequences for developing our true identity: scars made early in childhood impair self-fulfillment as females over a lifetime.
The Asperger brain is radically different: asking a child to change their innate personality is cruel. Imagine telling a female child that she is not a “real girl” merely due to her interest in logic, science, mathematics – or visual arts, and preference for “real knowledge”. The Asperger girl is punished for choices as mundane as comfortable clothing and “active” toys. “Act like a girl” is a mystifying and nonsensical directive pounded into us from birth. We are girls – no one has a right to deny that fact.
How many times have I had to insist, “I am a girl and this is how I behave; therefore this is how a girl behaves.”
Logic has no effect on irrational people, who merely repeat whatever they have been told to believe and say by those higher up on the “human status” pyramid. The very act of questioning supernatural (word-concept) assumptions, (which Asperger children do frequently) brings forth angry rejection and social exile. Anyone who cannot see the trauma inflicted on a child by the outright rejection of a child as “not really human – subhuman in fact, needs to examine their personal beliefs about empathy, compassion and what human beings mean to each other. Even though I was a strong-willed and confident child, I grew up with a nagging anxiety that pursuing my intelligence and curiosity – my identity – put me on the wrong side of a fence that divided unacceptable female humans from everyone else.
The question I repeatedly asked: How could anyone believe that sex and gender have anything to do with natural curiosity, learning, thinking and self-expression?
Why is it okay for boys to pursue a career of their choosing, but girls are exceptional and abnormal for wanting the same fulfillment? Why are boys say allowed to say things that girls are forbidden to say? Why are boys encouraged to test their limits, but girls must settle for a highly scripted (and unhealthy) inferior female life? Why is it okay to be smart in school, but once a girl walks out the door she must hide her intelligence, and indeed pretend (physically and mentally) to be merely a servile sexual being, because that’s what the social order demands? In my case, being pretty only compounded the insults : pretty girls were meant to be trophy wives and I was “defacing” that role by insisting on being someone in my own right.
In many ways, the “disorder” of being a female Asperger comes down to the sin of being intelligent, logical, curious, ambitious, and not amenable to being social when social means abandoning the best of yourself to a hierarchy of unequal opportunity and a straightjacket of prescribed behavior. Beauty isn’t skin deep, but society wants women to be surfaces, without any inconvenient depth.
I was given my physical and mental attributes at birth (that’s opportunity) and in my value system, it is my obligation to develop those attributes thoughtfully, carefully and sanely because that’s what life offers every living creature. To be human is to unfold our destiny, personally and collectively, just as every component of the universe is in a state of “becoming what it becomes”. A wolf becomes a wolf, a sunflower a sunflower, a star a star, a woman a woman. That is equality; that is fulfillment.