Differences between men and women with asperger.

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Lone Replicant
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12 Jul 2019, 4:15 am

What are the main differences between men and women with asperger? And why women with asperger dont have representation in the media (mainly movies)?


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magz
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12 Jul 2019, 5:02 am

As almost all the differences between men and women outside procreation, different presentation of ASD is a statistical thing - typically, the AS (defined as autism without speech delay or signs or intellectual disability) presents differently in males and females. However, males with "female" presentation and females with "male" set of symptoms are entirely possible and they absolutely do exist.

Typically, many AS females from early age invent sets of coping strategies to circumvent social confusion and learn social skills by copying others, acting, analysing, rehearsing, etc. This masks ASD symptoms but requires a lot of intellectual effort and self control, which is exhausting and causes constant anxiety.

In cases like me, it goes like that for all childhood and adolescence and finally breaks in pieces in adult life. As the person has never shown any obvious "autism symptoms", sudden burnout is often confused for other mental illness, misdiagnosed and mistreated.

The knowledge of the above is very new, not really popular even among the specialists - Tony Attwood describes it but he's the cutting edge of ASD understanding in the professional world.

A person like that wouldn't make a good movie character. Appearing normal appears normal and the cost of it is invisible.


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12 Jul 2019, 5:21 am

According to some users here, women automatically have it easier than men just because of their gender... :roll:



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12 Jul 2019, 5:24 am

magz wrote:
Typically, many AS females from early age invent sets of coping strategies to circumvent social confusion and learn social skills by copying others, acting, analysing, rehearsing, etc. This masks ASD symptoms but requires a lot of intellectual effort and self control, which is exhausting and causes constant anxiety.

In cases like me, it goes like that for all childhood and adolescence and finally breaks in pieces in adult life. As the person has never shown any obvious "autism symptoms", sudden burnout is often confused for other mental illness, misdiagnosed and mistreated.


I can definitely relate to this, and I'm curious what other men here relate to it, too.

To the OP--there's really no behavior inherent to men or women, just human behaviors. The personality, character, and intellect of someone will influence how apparent any autistic traits are. I often feel uneasy around mannequins, as if they're alive, even though I know logically they're not. Despite knowing they're not, I still have the overwhelming feeling they are. No one in my life is aware I feel this way. I've met several people with ASD who would absolutely express the same fear. To the outside observer we would look very different, but describing that differences without acknowledging our individual perspectives would not tell the full story.

I think the real issue is few autistic people have made the effort to speak for themselves, though I see more and more doing this thanks to the internet. For the most part, the language around ASD comes from people observing from the outside, hence clinical terms like "special interest" rather than a personal, more human equivalent. Or the fact that autistic people are rigid. Who here ever woke up and said, "I can't wait to be rigid today!" When I think of routines and rituals I enjoy, I think, "Today will be pleasurable. I will feel like myself today." Letting others speak for you will perpetuate stereotypes, and I think the constant assumption that ASD inherently presents differently in males and females is similarly dangerous.

Though many on the spectrum have some communication difficulties, it's deeply ironic that society defines ASD partly by communication issues, and doesn't allow these individuals to speak for themselves. It partly defines ASD by lack of social skills, though those "skills" are things NTs enjoy, which is why they consider them skills. Isn't avoiding small talk and getting to the point a skill? The language of ASD points firmly at disability, without acknowledging that the society autistic individuals live in also exacerbates that disability, with all its noise and light. Of course, people on the spectrum will always have the same difficulties, but it's easy to focus on someone's struggles when you're making them work harder than is necessary.

To me, it seems wiser to focus on the "person" in "autistic person," and allow someone to have a personality rather than reducing them to a disability. Society does the opposite, and that is one reason why you see few autistic women represented in media. I would also urge people to represent themselves, instead of waiting for someone else to speak for them. That is a better way toward understanding and social acceptance.


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Lone Replicant
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12 Jul 2019, 5:33 am

magz wrote:
As almost all the differences between men and women outside procreation, different presentation of ASD is a statistical thing - typically, the AS (defined as autism without speech delay or signs or intellectual disability) presents differently in males and females. However, males with "female" presentation and females with "male" set of symptoms are entirely possible and they absolutely do exist.

Typically, many AS females from early age invent sets of coping strategies to circumvent social confusion and learn social skills by copying others, acting, analysing, rehearsing, etc. This masks ASD symptoms but requires a lot of intellectual effort and self control, which is exhausting and causes constant anxiety.

In cases like me, it goes like that for all childhood and adolescence and finally breaks in pieces in adult life. As the person has never shown any obvious "autism symptoms", sudden burnout is often confused for other mental illness, misdiagnosed and mistreated.

The knowledge of the above is very new, not really popular even among the specialists - Tony Attwood describes it but he's the cutting edge of ASD understanding in the professional world.

A person like that wouldn't make a good movie character. Appearing normal appears normal and the cost of it is invisible.

A woman friend of mine was admitted for schizophrenia, severe depression and addiction. I suspect that behind all this may be asperger. Her doctors didn't notice but I think it's very probable.


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magz
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12 Jul 2019, 5:48 am

Lone Replicant wrote:
A woman friend of mine was admitted for schizophrenia, severe depression and addiction. I suspect that behind all this may be asperger. Her doctors didn't notice but I think it's very probable.

I was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia and given meds that made a vegetable of me.
Only after getting out of it, a therapist I worked with told me about AS and I finally got the language to describe my experiences (sensory issues, meltdown, shutdown).


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12 Jul 2019, 6:04 am

Fireblossom wrote:
According to some users here, women automatically have it easier than men just because of their gender... :roll:

I believe that society in general realizes more easily that a person is aspie when the person is a man. And especially when that man is a strange-looking man. Largely because of representation in the media (again, mostly in movies).


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12 Jul 2019, 6:10 am

magz wrote:
Lone Replicant wrote:
A woman friend of mine was admitted for schizophrenia, severe depression and addiction. I suspect that behind all this may be asperger. Her doctors didn't notice but I think it's very probable.

I was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia and given meds that made a vegetable of me.
Only after getting out of it, a therapist I worked with told me about AS and I finally got the language to describe my experiences (sensory issues, meltdown, shutdown).

I'm really sorry about that.


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magz
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12 Jul 2019, 6:36 am

Lone Replicant wrote:
magz wrote:
Lone Replicant wrote:
A woman friend of mine was admitted for schizophrenia, severe depression and addiction. I suspect that behind all this may be asperger. Her doctors didn't notice but I think it's very probable.

I was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia and given meds that made a vegetable of me.
Only after getting out of it, a therapist I worked with told me about AS and I finally got the language to describe my experiences (sensory issues, meltdown, shutdown).

I'm really sorry about that.

No problem, it's the past now and there was a (sort of) happy ending. I just suspect my story wasn't unusual at all and given the difficulty of getting out of my wrong diagnosis, I fear many Aspies may be locked forever in the same hell I have been :(


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12 Jul 2019, 6:32 pm

Lone Replicant wrote:
What are the main differences between men and women with asperger? And why women with asperger dont have representation in the media (mainly movies)?

The problem is when autism was discovered and the diagnostic criteria was written Autism was thought to be a boys condition. Even today the diagnostic criteria reflects how autism presents in boys.

“Please Stand By” has a lead character who is autistic. It is best and most non stereotypical autism representation I have seen.

“Keep The Change” is a romantic comedy where the two autistic lead characters are played by autistic actors. I have not seen this movie yet.


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MissMary227
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12 Jul 2019, 6:53 pm

Lone Replicant wrote:
What are the main differences between men and women with asperger? And why women with asperger dont have representation in the media (mainly movies)?



Tony Attwood says Aspie women are very good chameleons, and I agree with him. There likely are female Aspie actresses but you wouldn't necessarily notice them. I think of Sigourney Weaver in Alien (my guess only and this totally ages me :D ), they say Daryl Hannah is as well. Neo's flame, Trinity, I would guess. Aspie women just come off as strong, cool characters.

I think you'd have to get lower-functioning (no offense, just using the lingo I have learned) female Aspies if you want the typical male Aspie equivalent in movies/TV. Because, seriously, high-functioning female Aspies pass easily. I know I do. But I am definitely autistic inside.



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12 Jul 2019, 9:29 pm

MissMary227 wrote:
Aspie women just come off as strong, cool characters.

I think I disagree here. Most of the late diagnosed, high functioning women I know IRL don't really have it together any more than male aspies, we're just dismissed as being irrational/oversensitive/not trying hard enough. Everyone I've known in my life could see something was up, but no one would have thought it was autism. There are real difficulties, others can see there is a struggle, but it's misunderstood.

I think a better example of an aspie woman would be Amelie, esp the Broadway musical version. Odd, misunderstood but fascinating character.

My favourite fictitious (identified) autistic character is the woman in Please Stand By. I really like that film. It doesn't sugarcoat reality.

Not that an aspie woman can't be a cool, strong character. I just don't think that's what they generally look like.


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12 Jul 2019, 9:38 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
"Keep The Change” is a romantic comedy where the two autistic lead characters are played by autistic actors. I have not seen this movie yet.


I streamed this movie recently and I liked it. It's definitely different than other movies given the fact the the lead characters (as well as a good number of the supporting cast) are autistic. As such there's a raw factor to the film that is absent from movies where an NT plays an autistic person or a person with other kinds of neurological disorders. I would recommend it.


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12 Jul 2019, 11:14 pm

MissMary227 wrote:
Lone Replicant wrote:
What are the main differences between men and women with asperger? And why women with asperger dont have representation in the media (mainly movies)?



Tony Attwood says Aspie women are very good chameleons, and I agree with him. There likely are female Aspie actresses but you wouldn't necessarily notice them. I think of Sigourney Weaver in Alien (my guess only and this totally ages me :D ), they say Daryl Hannah is as well. Neo's flame, Trinity, I would guess. Aspie women just come off as strong, cool characters.

I think you'd have to get lower-functioning (no offense, just using the lingo I have learned) female Aspies if you want the typical male Aspie equivalent in movies/TV. Because, seriously, high-functioning female Aspies pass easily. I know I do. But I am definitely autistic inside.


Maybe I'm low functioning then? I mean my official diagnosis is aspergers and I can live on my own and hold down a job, but I really wouldn't say I pass of as an NT... everyone seems to see that something's "off" about me after knowing me just a little while.



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12 Jul 2019, 11:27 pm

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Maybe I'm low functioning then? I mean my official diagnosis is aspergers and I can live on my own and hold down a job, but I really wouldn't say I pass of as an NT... everyone seems to see that something's "off" about me after knowing me just a little while.


I don't know what makes some women more able to hide it. It would be an interesting study.