Asperger Emotion / Music and Visual Art

Music expresses and elicits “feeling” – I don’t need words to describe my reactions to music; in fact, words are simply inadequate.  “Amazing” “Brilliant” and  such word-reactions are completely without depth.

Visual art both expresses and elicits “feelings”  – I don’t need words to describe my relationship to visual art, although specific paintings, or other objects and images, may induce expressions of “meaning” that can be communicated in words.

The pagan goddess of love: Sandro Boticelli’s “Birth of Venus” ca. 1480 AD remains, after 500 years, an awestruck view of the natural female

Case in point: Sandro Boticelli’s vast canvas, The Birth of Venus, mesmerized me when I first came across a reproduction in an art book. I had never before seen an image of a female as a “natural being” – and not some trussed up, disguised and despised “product” of social manipulation.  A goddess, no less.  Timeless; a living being outside social jeopardy; worthy of admiration. I did not understand this in words. I felt it, intuited it, as an image that rescued a worthy perception of myself as female; a powerful antidote to the miserable characterizations of doomed females in American culture. Women were routinely characterized as defective, cursed, a nuisance: women in Western culture had become miserable servants, “wedded” prostitutes and baby makers – held to be mentally inferior and emotionally-ill by (God’s) social definition. All that, I understood in one image: experience brought the message into ‘cognitive” focus.

The “reality” of discrimination and inferior status as a female grew ever more damaging and overwhelming as I grew from a child to into a young adult, the time when one “enters” society, and the expectation is conformity to one’s role, no matter how against reason and compassion that role may be. The backlash was especially severe when I tried to fulfill that “positive” image of a natural female within the confines of misogynist American culture.

Asperger types are characterized as unfeeling, uncaring and “subhuman” – a declaration that I have found to be a useful “excuse” for bullying of every type: the dumb animal cannot “feel” the pain, and is therefore, fair game.

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