A very odd thing I read earlier about Aspies...

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anxiety25
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06 May 2010, 9:03 am

I'm on a parenting forum elsewhere, of kids with ASDs... I was quite curious to whether or not anyone else had ever heard or read this, because quite frankly, I never have and am having difficulties actually believing it, lol.

Someone said they were on a site (yes, yes... I know, lol, anything can be put on a site, which is why I'm here and asking if you guys have ever heard this) "and they were talking about how Hans Asperger noted that his subjects were exceptionally good looking." Which kind of seemed to lead to a brag fest of posting pics of their own kids, lol.


:scratch:


Now... I'm no expert, of course... but as far as I know, we are all still human regardless of diagnosis and whatnot, so... does that even really amount to anything at all? I mean, to each person, perception is often different. One person could think someone is absolutely gorgeous, while another does not.

I honestly just don't get why it matters so much anyway, or why that would be a big deal. ...and heck, the term good looking... could that not also be interpreted as like, "looking good and healthy"?

I just found it extremely odd that it seemed to be turned into such a big deal... and even weirder that people are commenting "yes! people with ASDs ARE gorgeous!"

I'm not sure why, but I find it rather frustrating in all honesty, lol, to be generalized in such a way... because I think it actually takes away from us being human to the extent that it doesn't matter what your diagnosis is, there are pretty people and ugly people everywhere. To me, people are just people, so the fascination with appearance irks me too, lol.


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fiddlerpianist
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06 May 2010, 9:45 am

I have heard this before as well, anxiety25... more from the classic autism perspective but I don't see any reason it couldn't be applied to those with ASDs as well.

I think this perception / observation has less to do with actual looks and more to do with demeanor. Many of us probably look more innocent than most, and some find that attractive and attribute it to "good looks." There is are also anecdotes of actual physical appearances being different, eyes being set differently, etc. Take this how you will, but John Elder Robison observed a "diamond-shaped" face for many on the spectrum.

Regardless, I don't think anything like this has been studied, so who knows for sure? For what it's worth, the polls taken here (along the lines of "Are you generally considered good looking?" have very mixed results).


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DemonAbyss10
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06 May 2010, 9:46 am

It may be due to the fact that quite a few of use that have AS look quite a bit younger than we really are. I wouldn't say good looking, I would just simply say some of us age differently. It has been talked about before on this site, and if I can find the page, Id link ya to it.


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06 May 2010, 9:52 am

optimism bias



fiddlerpianist
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06 May 2010, 9:53 am

Just to add to what I already said...

anxiety25 wrote:
I honestly just don't get why it matters so much anyway, or why that would be a big deal.

I suspect that some parents try to find the "silver lining" in what is generally considered to be a parenting challenge (i.e. having kids with an ASD). If they can be presented in a positive light that others can relate to and immediately see, in many cases it makes the parents feel a little better.

Unfortunately, this can be taken too far, such as: "What a beautiful child! It's just a shame he/she is autistic." That attitude is disgusting. It implies that good looks are somehow "wasted" on an autistic person.


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06 May 2010, 9:56 am

the parents with gorgeous kids post the pics. What makes these kids stand out from other attractive kids is that they have an innocent, unearthly look. You may have noticed that smart people (not necessarily professors) who are successful tend to be attractive - even physically. As these Aspies are smart there might be a correlation. But it's speculation really.



anxiety25
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06 May 2010, 9:56 am

DemonAbyss10 wrote:
It may be due to the fact that quite a few of use that have AS look quite a bit younger than we really are. I wouldn't say good looking, I would just simply say some of us age differently. It has been talked about before on this site, and if I can find the page, Id link ya to it.


Thank you very much, as I would definitely like to read a little bit more about it.

What sparked this whole post was someone came across 2 ladies talking about the movie Adam. One of them said to the other, "well, he had autism and he was cute", referring to the main character. Now, I dunno if the actual actor had it or not, but that wasn't the point of their post, lol.

They were appalled that people actually think "autistic people cannot be cute/hot/whatever you wanna call it". But they are actually countering it with "ALL of our ASD kids are gorgeous!" To which, I've inquired how that line of thinking works, lol... because both are generalizations.

However, one person explained it similar to what you guys have said. That it isn't so much physical beauty, typical attraction stuff... they said there is little to no pretense, that we look more innocent, pure, and that is a rare thing to find in people.

From that angle, I do understand it a lot more... but it's the only one who has said it that way, lol, out of about 20 people saying "my son is going to be a heart throb when he grows up", "mine's been asked to go into modelling", etc.


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06 May 2010, 10:18 am

I think that the topic on that website was less about ASDs and more about mothers showing off their kids and bragging.



Janissy
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06 May 2010, 10:32 am

I've heard it too. Heck, I've done it. Like somebody said, "optimism bias". Psychologists have noted that people tend to cut more slack for good looking people. So I look at my daughter and think, "ok, she's going to have social difficulties but I bet people will take it a little easier on her because she's pretty". There are probably a lot of posters on here who can say to that bit of parental wishful thinking, "Is that what you think? Keep dreaming".

Then there's media bias. Magazine editors and poster makers always seem to go for the most ethereal faces they can find to represent "the face of autism". If famous autistic people aren't gorgeous, Hollywood will spin it around to make it so. Claire Danes is more beautiful than Temple Grandin and it is Claire Danes' face that will pop into a lot of peoples' mind when they think of Temple Grandin if they didn't know of her before the biopic. That feeds the idea, even though people know that Hollywood does this. For that matter, Dustin Hoffman is more handsome than Kim Peek.

Then there's the actual objective differences that posters have noted. The tendency to not have a very mobile face with constantly changing expressions can make a person look ethereal and dreamy, which many consider attractive. It also leads to fewer laugh lines and frown lines as one ages, giving a youthful appearance. Youth is inherently considered attractive.

Then there's also "he/she has a Syndrome????" bias. A lot of genetic syndromes also affect facial features. So when people hear "disability", a little part of their minds gears up to see a face that is affected in some way. The mismatch between "I was expecting somebody a little funny looking" and an autistic person's actual face can get mentally labeled as "good looking".



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06 May 2010, 10:55 am

I can honestly say I've never heard that one before. I love that about urban myths, just when you thought you've heard everything, there's always something stupider.



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06 May 2010, 11:32 am

Being good-looking I think smoothes out some bumps in the road for all people, autistic or not. Personally I don't consider myself terribly good-looking, nor did anyone when I was a child, but I noticed at around 12 that by dressing and carrying myself a certain way, and use make-up to improve myself, I would get different reactions from people. In my 20s it became pretty apparent that I was right, but the difference considered of people approaching me because they didn't care about my personality as long as I was hot :roll:

Anyway, I'm happy my son is good-looking, because regardless of people who are flat-out superficial, I think most people react on a sub-conscious lever to good looks. Something in human wiring guides us to be positive to certain shapes, symmetry and relationships (like the golden standard). I'm also glad he's not a girl, because the focus on the external is still much worse for girls.



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06 May 2010, 12:27 pm

Nah, it's nonsense.


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06 May 2010, 12:54 pm

I think it's true. The problem is, we end up with such low self-esteem from being treated poorly and being bullied and run over socially, we fail to see ourselves that way. Aside from weight problems born out of solitude and social inactivity, I've never seen anyone with an ASD (or even whom I suspected of having an ASD) who would qualify in anyone's judgment as ugly, or even unattractive. Gorgeous might be stretching reality a bit, but parents always think their kid is the most beautiful human ever created.

I've met a lot of ugly people (and I mean ugly by anyone's standards), and I can't recollect one of those who would have seemed to be the least bit Autistic. :wink:



SabbraCadabra
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06 May 2010, 1:48 pm

I did a quick search and found this:

http://www.paains.org.uk/articles/beautiful.htm

Obviously no quotes or citations to back it up though...


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06 May 2010, 1:55 pm

anxiety25 wrote:
I'm on a parenting forum elsewhere, of kids with ASDs... I was quite curious to whether or not anyone else had ever heard or read this, because quite frankly, I never have and am having difficulties actually believing it, lol.

Someone said they were on a site (yes, yes... I know, lol, anything can be put on a site, which is why I'm here and asking if you guys have ever heard this) "and they were talking about how Hans Asperger noted that his subjects were exceptionally good looking." Which kind of seemed to lead to a brag fest of posting pics of their own kids, lol.


:scratch:


Now... I'm no expert, of course... but as far as I know, we are all still human regardless of diagnosis and whatnot, so... does that even really amount to anything at all? I mean, to each person, perception is often different. One person could think someone is absolutely gorgeous, while another does not.
.


Well, I sure can believe it. My kids are GORGEOUS. They are the most handsome boys you can imagine. Sure, they have a few tics, but they are so adorable, who cares.

I reserve the right to be a little irrational about my children.



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06 May 2010, 2:02 pm

I don't know about more good looking but I have read (and noticed) certain features that we share. For example large head which also contributes to us looking youthful.


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