Lists of female aspie traits making you feel less female

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Tuttle
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30 Oct 2011, 11:55 am

I guess I'll put this here.

I'm curious if I'm the only one who's like this. Reading the lists of female aspie traits, and all about how female aspies are, only make me feel less female and more gender-neutral. I don't fit with the "female aspie traits", despite being biologically female. Many of the traits I associate with are just aspie traits, not female aspie traits, and a bunch of them described to be the differences between females and males I don't match the female trait at all...

I don't know if its that people assume females are more mild and that's what leads to them fitting in better and I'm just not as mild as they're discussing when they're talking about females...

The one thing I really associated with in Aspergirls was the description of school. So many books talk about aspies being troublemakers either because of not knowing what to do or to try to fit in, and this one described the side I was in, of the kids who pleased the teachers and who went to the other extreme.

I'd expected to not feel less female after my diagnosis, because I'd expected to identify with other female aspies. Instead, I feel even less like I can identify with being female.



Ria1989
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30 Oct 2011, 12:13 pm

You're lucky you weren't a trouble maker in school ( if I read that correctly). I think that makes you identify with the NTs more than other aspies. In elementary school, I constantly got called to the front of the classroom because I couldn't pay attention and then would disrupt people around me to find out what to do.

I think that many females find is that we are all different from one another to an extent just like no nt is the same. Furthermore, aspie women do have that undeniable desire to fit in. Once I got to high school, I became less boyish and more feminine. I dressed in all the desirable clothing. It helped greatly to initially feel better, but the facade my clothing gave me wore off quickly once I socialized.

I think that no matter how an autistic acts, there will always be a difference between other autistics and NTs. We are all unique!


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League_Girl
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30 Oct 2011, 12:22 pm

Funny, I think I was a trouble maker in school because I had troubles controlling my behavior and it always took willpower to do it and I was trying hard to be like everyone else and rebelled when I was being treated different. The school probably saw me as one.

As I got older, I got better self control but it took me until I was 12.



Tuttle
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30 Oct 2011, 1:50 pm

Ria1989 wrote:
I think that makes you identify with the NTs more than other aspies.


Far from it. I don't identify with NTs at all. I didn't identify with them at all in school either.

Me not being a trouble-maker made me bullied more, not less, because they knew I'd not fight back.

Ria1989 wrote:
Furthermore, aspie women do have that undeniable desire to fit in.


I don't.



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30 Oct 2011, 2:10 pm

Is it possible you are asper AND roughly gender neutral?


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30 Oct 2011, 2:24 pm

Apera wrote:
Is it possible you are asper AND roughly gender neutral?


Yep. I'm a diagnosed aspie, and I am a very non-feminine female who's borderline gender-neutral. I just found it weird to so strongly not associate with those lists and want to know if anyone else is like that too. I expected to identify with them, instead I don't at all and they make me feel even more gender-neutral than I did before my diagnosis.



btbnnyr
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30 Oct 2011, 2:43 pm

I feel that the differences between males and females have been blown out of proportion, possibly by that book "Aspergirls" or this list of female traits or other similar materials that I am not aware of.

It's hard for me to translate lists of traits into real live people, so I don't even know if I identify with the traits. They seem overgeneralized to me, but everything does. I feel like I identify with both males and females on this forum and not generally more with females than males.



btbnnyr
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30 Oct 2011, 2:46 pm

I'm trying to answer the gender question, but I'm not sure how to answer. Do I feel gender-neutral, or do I feel female? I'm not sure. I think I feel more female, but what is that supposed to feel like? Does identification with other females play into feeling more female? There's no way I can do that in real life.



alexi
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30 Oct 2011, 3:13 pm

I understand what you are saying. I also read Aspergirls and was quite surprised by how I felt about it. To me that book focusses on the author's perception of her own Aspergers, but the way that it is written implies that it refers to ALL women with Aspergers. I found it quite frustrating to read and when my partner wanted to read iit to "get a better idea of how I work" I discouraged it because I didn't feel that it was an accurate representation of female Aspergers.

I applaud the writer of the book, it really is the only of it's kind, but as is well known in the community - "you meet one person with autism, you've met one person with autism". Because it really is the only book of its kind, it makes quite hard to get a well-rounded view of the traits in females. I found it upsetting to read and not relate strongly to, but on the other hand, can understand that the writing is her truth.

There is a section in the book that focuses on burning bridges. She talks about constantly picking up and moving home- Around the country, around the world. Changing jobs, losing friends. Under the conclusion that females with Aspergers are driven to do these things by choice. I found this chapter the clearest example of the book being about her particular experience. Because it is a theme that more or less contradicts the more general characteristic of Aspergers that we usually don't like change. I know for myself, the idea of constantly moving home, changing job, etc would be enormously difficult to deal with and avoided as much as possible.

I share your view on feeling gender neutral. It is confusing because on the one hand this trait is included in the "female with Aspergers" lists. But on the other hand does that mean that we would just as equally relate to the "male with Aspergers" lists? Maybe it means that those who feel gender neutral would fit into a third list :wink:

I too was that kid who went to the other extreme. I was quiet, extremely well behaved, and the teachers and my parents thought that I was the perfect child because of this. They were all so happy with my behaviour that no one could see that I was living frozen inside with panic and overwhelm. It wasn't until I was 15 onwards that despite my continuing perfect behaviour other signs began to show that something was terribly wrong, but even then it was up to me to fight to be understood and get help.



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30 Oct 2011, 4:07 pm

Ria1989 wrote:
You're lucky you weren't a trouble maker in school ( if I read that correctly). I think that makes you identify with the NTs more than other aspies. In elementary school, I constantly got called to the front of the classroom because I couldn't pay attention and then would disrupt people around me to find out what to do.



I was like that at school too.

Also I seem to be behind many females re: social skills. My social skills were pretty shocking compared to other as females I had met at groups etc. I actually felt I related a lot more to some of the AS men who had also these problems.


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30 Oct 2011, 7:56 pm

I'm female, but "gender-neutral."

I've never felt a strong association with "gender." As far as I was concerned, gender was just more stupid, arbitrary rules that people made-up to annoy me.

But I was a "goodie-two-shoes" in school too. It was because I had massive anxiety, couldn't stand yelling (especially when directed at me), and took things at face value. I was also selectively mute, and it's hard to get into trouble when you never speak. It had nothing to do with a desire to "fit-in."

As for "female traits".........

1. I like to read fiction and have a massive imagination.

2. I go to great lengths to avoid conflict and am not physically aggressive. I'm also more prone to shut-downs instead of meltdowns.

3. Was inclined towards selective mutism and internalizing stress (as opposed to externalizing it).

4. During social situations, I have a catalog of fictional characters I draw on to imitate. Ironically, they're male characters. Detective John Munch is one of my favorites.

5. My special interests aren't as intense, long-lasting, or odd.

I've been told the aforementioned are more likely to occur in females than males. As for resources for autism chicks, I've found Tony Attwood gets closest to describing me.


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30 Oct 2011, 10:24 pm

I fit into the very stereotypical mould for general autism. I don't seem to perfectly fit in to the female traits that people have recently come up with. I still feel female though, and I don't allow anyone else to define femininity for me.


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kahlua
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31 Oct 2011, 12:48 am

OP- what are the traits that you have ?

I do identify with most of the female traits, but don't really feel female due to being so dissimilar to other (NT) females.



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31 Oct 2011, 8:09 am

I am fairly female in terms of most traits, but not all. I like hats and cute shoes and pink. I'm quiet and passive. I like to be cute or pretty. I like skirts and dresses. But things like make up and shaving are sensory issues so, in those ways, I don't seem female.



shilohmm
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31 Oct 2011, 11:52 am

littlelily613 wrote:
I still feel female though, and I don't allow anyone else to define femininity for me.


Nearly everything that we identify as a "female" or "male" trait or as "feminine" or "masculine" is culturally defined (meaning what's "feminine" in one culture is "masculine" in another), and even the differences with some foundation in reality, it's a matter of percentages. For instance, the brain studies that have defined a "male" brain (where the structures "in charge of" language are highly localized, and if that area is damaged that ability is not likely to be recovered in an adult) and a "female" brain (where many different parts of the brain work together to deal with language, so if one of those areas is injured, odds are fairly good the others will be able to cover the gap), in terms of actual numbers, only 60% of men have the "male" brain, and only 60% of women the "female." Men are taller than women, but some women are taller than most men, and some men shorter than most women. For a lot of traits, women tend to cluster toward the center (the bell curve is high and broad in the middle), while men tend more toward the extremes (the bell curve doesn't go as high and the edges taper off more gradually).

There's also the fact that a lot of cultural norms ("women talk more than men") do not hold up in studies (it's been repeatedly shown that people perceive women as talking more than men, when in terms of either time talking or number of words said, the men talked more than the women). So the social definition is at best only true in the sense of percentages, and sometimes it's not true at all, meaning a woman who is dead average as a woman on nearly every front can "feel" unfeminine, because she doesn't achieve the social definition of female. :( Women society considers "highly feminine" don't actually act like most women at all. They just fit that society's definition of what a woman should be.

All of which to say, I agree with littlelily here. :D



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31 Oct 2011, 12:04 pm

Quote:
The one thing I really associated with in Aspergirls was the description of school. So many books talk about aspies being troublemakers either because of not knowing what to do or to try to fit in, and this one described the side I was in, of the kids who pleased the teachers and who went to the other extreme.


That's the main one I don't fit. I was getting sent home from school about twice a week or so for having meltdowns, and every single day I got into at least one power struggle with teachers.

I've self-diagnosed with Newson Syndrome (Pathological Demand Avoidance) which is more common in autistic girls (it has an even gender ratio, in contrast with the 1:3 ratio usual for autism). Many of the traits listed as more common in autistic girls than autistic boys are characteristics of this condition, such as obsessive pretend play, role-playing, more 'social' and less prominent intense interests, etc.