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For most people with Asperger’s it’s a day to day challenge to feel safe and understood by neurotypical people.
And even though there is a number of dating sites for people with high functioning autism, most of those are expensive pay-sites where you have to dish out a month for the same features that privides for ,- a year!
This is the first post of what Dani Alexis and I are hoping will be a fun, and constructive series of angry rants.
See, we’ve been talking for ages about how much we want to write giant “sex/gender bullshit and autism” super-posts, because we have so much to say on those topics.
So when I was considering doing this post (I’d collected the images of E-books a few months ago, I think) for reals, I asked Dani if she’d wanna do a back-and-forth kind of post conversation on the topic, and she was down.
I know that I benefit from having some kind of dialogue with another person while thinking, and I tend to get stressed about whether or not I’m “including everything” when writing, so this should be fun and also helpful for me.
Plus I mean angry ranting is always a bonus for me. I wish there was a way for me to express the absolutely minuscule amount of fucks I give about the dating needs of Aspie men without sounding like a really mean person.
And I want to ask, now: is it just me, or is the “White Male With Aspergers” stereotype seem constantly defined by his inability to “get girls”?He has a job, usually, and a place to live, maybe even some nerdy friends, but we are supposed to sympathize with his difficulties solely because he “can’t get a date.” While Dani and I have been talking about this stuff, it’s seemed clear to both of us that the narratives of “normalization” and “development” that we encounter so often in autism discourse are also narratives of gender and sex, often in the most absurdly stereotypical ways.We see how these books present dating as something autistic men must go through as a natural step in life–a guy has to go on dates in order to find a woman who will marry him.The question is not “is there a woman that wants to marry him,” but instead, it is “how does he get through the dating stage in the process without scaring away the women who eventually, will totally want to marry him.” We should note, also, that there are apparently only two states an autistic woman can exist in: she is living every day alone, trying to “keep safe” despite the world around her, or she is already in a relationship with a partner who doesn’t really know her.Guides on how to date, or how to “not get raped,” or how to be the perfect partner, are implicitly (and explicitly, at least in these cases) guides on how to act more neurotypical, just like they are also guides on how to act straight, on how to act middle-class, and on how to act white.We have a model of what it means to be an adult, what it means to have adult relationships, what it means to live a fulfilling life, and these models of how life should (must) progress are supremely destructive.So most of us don’t even get a chance to be included in the narratives of success and maturity that our white, male peers are expected to live out–but somehow that does not prevent us from being made to think that our safety and value is determined by how closely we can make ourselves resemble said narratives. In a story where a man needs a wife, and married life is the only acceptable way for a woman to live as an adult, an autistic woman learns to enter into relationships with men because men need wives, and the only way she will be able to live “as an adult” is if she marries a man.Her autisticness is cited as the reason she cannot afford to live on her own, or with anyone besides her parents or spouse, and simultaneously provides ample justifications for the abuse and emotional manipulation that her caregivers or spouse may exert.She is told that nobody would have to yell at her if she could just make dinner like she was supposed to, that nobody would have to hurt her if she wasn’t so bad at having sex, or that nobody else would tolerate someone as messy and useless as her.When you teach boys and young men (autistic or otherwise) that anyone who fails to accommodate their needs is a bad person, and then turn around and teach girls and women (autistic or otherwise) that they aren’t allowed to have needs, you are helping make sure that we will continue to live in a world where women are constantly blamed for their own sexual assault, and where men are trained to be so worried about their masculinity that they are unable to admit that they have hurt others, or that others hurt them.And autistic people are supremely vulnerable to this kind of manipulation and socialization, in part because these kinds of stories and lessons about “adulthood” and “independence” fill our lives, and are not in any way limited to the sphere of relationships and dating.