Women and Autism

Autism is much more frequentlly diagnosed in males than in females.  An article in the British Psychological Psychological Association’s journal suggests the underlying difference lies in a crucial distingushing feature.  To invoke the cliches of the syndrome:  autistic males are loners who lack intuitive understanding of the neuro-typicals’ actions and reactions.  Autistic women, on the other hand, have the same. lack of intuitive understanding, but they have a much stronger desire for social relations.

On this account, autistic women lack the skills to fulfill a fundamental desire they have.  They may learn to compensate for their intuitive lack.  However, I would suppose that getting help is very difficult for them.  Therapists won’t be prepared to see the problems they have.


6 thoughts on “Women and Autism

  1. “Invoking cliches of the syndrome” strikes me as a clearly bad idea. The one sided reiteration of negative stereotypes and the focus on medidalized “fixing” of autistic people here without a counterbalance is pretty uncomfortable. Aside from the ablism theres a lot of binaristic gender stereotyping here too.

  2. This research essentializes both disability and sex differences. Why should we pay attention to this account rather than challenge it from the beginning? Autistic women do not suggest that they lack a skill of intuition they wish to have, especially not as a result of biology/sex. They do suggest – politicizing the issue – they are not believed about what their problems are when they voice them. Let’s listen to them instead of the BPPA.

  3. Ouch.

    I’m an autistic woman (diagnosed in August) whose experiences in academic philosophy have been profoundly demoralizing and very nearly fatal. Ethics is my special interest / governing passion and philosophy as the love of wisdom is my creed. I’m writing up an autobiographical ethnography that lays out my experiences in the field. It begins with my childhood to help lay important groundwork and in the hope of finally being responded to by academic philosophers in a humane and respectful way. The above post adds to my commitment to getting that project done. Good luck to me. I need it, in droves.

  4. So sorry I missed your objection earlier.
    I think I misrepresented what I was trying to do. The point was merely to note an enlargement of a discourse with many of the flaws you mention.

  5. You seem to accept the label. Is that really a good idea?
    To be frank, I think that therapists have such a hard time understanding the sort of reflective people philosophers are that labels should be put to a descriptive use at all.

    I am profoundly sorry you are finding philosophers make up such a difficult community.

  6. Very true. I recently started my own blog for adult women on the spectrum. I was diagnosed a few years ago at age 28. I’m also a feminist and philosopher, so I look forward to following you! =)

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