Autism Is Not Gender Specific – Our Society Is….

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The labeling of  Women who do not fit neatly within the confines of society, as being ‘nutty’, ‘weird’, ‘batty’, ‘anti-social’, ‘loners’, ‘reclusive introverts’ or ‘eccentric’, when they may indeed be experiencing undiagnosed Female Autism, creates the kind of life long harm that ensnares Undiagnosed Autistic Women forever, within the confines of an artificially imposed, yet personally experienced prison, of societies making.

It’s high time that  the name calling, isolation and double standards that lead to the abandonment and  misdiagnosis of Women with undiagnosed Autism stopped.

It should no longer be considered acceptable for our society to be encouraged to acknowledge only those presentations of  Autism that fit within the confines of Male Autism.

Autism is not a Male only condition.

Yet still today, if a male exhibits peculiar behaviors, or behaviors that are viewed as being out of the norm for males, they are automatically considered for an assessment of Autism. 

Their behaviors are both attributed too, and understood as being part and parcel of  the presentation of Male Autism, even before that assessment takes place.

As such, Autistic behaviors in males are considered excusable, simply because it’s perceived that they may be on the Autism spectrum.

Yet, when a Female exhibits similar sets of peculiar behaviors, or behaviors that are viewed as being out of the norm for females,  she’s considered by others to be ‘weird’,’ unruly’, ‘unfeminine’,”highly strung’,’ intentionally disruptive’, ‘rude’, ‘bossy’ or ‘deliberately seeking attention’.

The one thing  Women’s behaviors  never seem to be automatically considered for, is an Assessment for Autism.

As a result, most Females on the Spectrum (either diagnosed or undiagnosed)  are often punished socially, emotionally, economically and psychologically,  for behaviors that they themselves may have no idea are unwelcome or are breaching social expectations.

Many girls and women are not even aware that they are on the Autism Spectrum until much later in life.

Nor unfortunately, are the people who often surround them in their daily lives.

Even their families, friends and peers often fall into the trap of  re-attributing or reconstructing,  the traits of Autism in  Women, as personal behaviors that arise due to a perceived lack of self-discipline, ambition, sociability, maturity and in many cases, even sanity.

In short, when it comes to Women and Autism, it still seems that the overwhelming propensity amongst many in society is to perceive Female Autistic traits as evidence, not of Autism as they do in Males, but as evidence of some kind of personal female weakness, fault or issue.

This results in the re-labeling of Female Autistic behavior as being anything but…Autistic.

It seems that it is still far easier for those within our society to re-label Autistic Women with any number of demeaning personal faults, than it is to open their eyes to the possibility that the rates of Autism amongst Women, particularly older women, are much higher than anyone dared previously imagine.

Autism is not Gender Specific and therefore, nor should our understandings of it be.

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8 thoughts on “Autism Is Not Gender Specific – Our Society Is….

  1. This is a very important point you are making. Everything resonates with me. I am 50 years old ( a youthful 50 ) and I only very recently dared to suggest to a health professional that I might be autistic though she did not think I was as I was articulate, educated etc… able to show empathy… but she did refer me to a psychiatrist and he seemed to listen to me for an hour while I quickly delivered my life story and at my second meeting he said he thought I was on the milder end of the spectrum and probably did have mild Aspergers…I was then referred to go to the local Autistic charity group which organises social meetings and that was that.
    Anyway, I digress…., your article totally describes my experiences although I have also been called worse…mad, evil (!) and f**cked up in my youth by some confused peers. Hopefully it will not be long before women with autism are recognised. I honestly think that people are afraid to label a young woman with this in case it means they end up without marriage and children….people always hope that she will “grow out of it” or somehow be compelled by responsibilities to just get over it (i.e. by having children). Interesting…

  2. I was never diagnosed, being born in 1963 there was not much help out there. It helped that my family knew what was going on even if they never shared that info with me. My brother was diagnosed when he was 6, because there was nothing anyone was able to do, my mom didn’t feel it would help to tell us we were “special”. When I came along showing the same behavior, she had the attitude, oh crap another one! Growing up different was hard but I don’t know if a label would have made it any better.

  3. Reblogged this on Sonnolenta… A Neurodivergent Journey and commented:
    A very powerful blog post about the gender gap that exists amongst male/female Autism diagnoses. SeventhVoice so eloquently drives the point home in a way that I’ve felt unable to- as I am so emotionally affected by how misdiagnosis, societal perceptions and judgment, and my own family’s refusal to accept my true diagnosis of Autism. They prefer, for whatever reasons, to believe that I am mentally ill and cannot be helped. This position is very common for Autistic women who are estranged from their families. It is easier for family members to believe one is mentally ill. They prefer to be “martyrs” rather than be required to reposition their thinking to include Autism. That would force them to treat the Autistic person like a human being, worthy of their unconditional love and acceptance. Stigmatization and dehumanization is easier, apparently. And that must change.

    “Autistic behaviors in males are considered excusable, simply because it’s perceived that they may be on the Autism spectrum.

    Yet, when a Female exhibits similar sets of peculiar behaviors, or behaviors that are viewed as being out of the norm for females, she’s considered by others to be ‘weird’,’ unruly’, ‘unfeminine’,”highly strung’,’ intentionally disruptive’, ‘rude’, ‘bossy’ or ‘deliberately seeking attention’.

    The one thing Women’s behaviors never seem to be automatically considered for, is an Assessment for Autism.

    As a result, most Females on the Spectrum (either diagnosed or undiagnosed) are often punished socially, emotionally, economically and psychologically, for behaviors that they themselves may have no idea are unwelcome or are breaching social expectations.

    Many girls and women are not even aware that they are on the Autism Spectrum until much later in life.

    Nor unfortunately, are the people who often surround them in their daily lives.

    Even their families, friends and peers often fall into the trap of re-attributing or reconstructing, the traits of Autism in Women, as personal behaviors that arise due to a perceived lack of self-discipline, ambition, sociability, maturity and in many cases, even sanity.

    In short, when it comes to Women and Autism, it still seems that the overwhelming propensity amongst many in society is to perceive Female Autistic traits as evidence, not of Autism as they do in Males, but as evidence of some kind of personal female weakness, fault or issue.

    This results in the re-labeling of Female Autistic behavior as being anything but…Autistic.

    It seems that it is still far easier for those within our society to re-label Autistic Women with any number of demeaning personal faults, than it is to open their eyes to the possibility that the rates of Autism amongst Women, particularly older women, are much higher than anyone dared previously imagine.”

    1. Thank you for your kind words of support Sonnolenta and for sharing your experiences with this issue. I have an enormous amount of respect for you as a person and the amazing wisdom found in your blog.

      1. Thank you! Many of your recents posts about female Autism have connected with me on an intense level. I find myself reading them over and over again, wishing I could I could force my Mother to read them, because they so accurately relay the very important issues at hand. In your writing you say so much of the things I feel in my head but am unable to commit to type. Thank you!

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