Category Archives: rant

Your subjective experience is not necessarily anyone else’s

Today I want to talk to the neurotypicals (NTs), about an experience I’ve had with NTs so. Many. Times. Autistic people are often accused of lacking empathy, but it’s the NTs who seem to truly believe that the way they experience the world is some kind of truth. That what things are like for THEM is what things are like for everyone. So they then take it upon themselves to EXPLAIN to anyone who experiences things differently about what things are “really” like.

Ok, let me get more specific. Group interactions are very hard for me. The social dynamics of groups are very complicated and it’s extremely difficult for me to keep up. On top of that, groups of people can be very intense on a sensory level. Trying to parse out everything I’m seeing and hearing is hard enough on its own, but trying to do it while also trying to keep up with the group dynamics and complex social interactions is nearly impossible. It’s just SO MUCH.

But trying to explain that to NTs is so hard. I have learned that many NTs not only find group social interactions to be easy – they find them easier than one-on-one interactions. And then they treat their own subjective experience of groups being easier as some kind of objective fact – that groups ARE easier than one-on-one. There have been multiple occasions where I expressed that actually, groups are more difficult for me, and an NT has straight up informed me that I am “mistaken.” According to them, my own experience of groups being more difficult is impossible so either I’m wrong or I’m lying. The nicer (not really nicer) ones will try to explain how groups are easier to try to get me to understand that I’m wrong. The less nice ones will tell me I’m stupid and stomp off. 

I’ve had NTs confidently tell me that there aren’t even that many social rules! Just jump in and start talking! It’s not complicated! The idea that there are, in fact, MANY rules and they just know them intuitively was one they weren’t even willing to consider. I did, eventually, manage to explain to one NT about the complexity of group dynamics by pointing out rude people. If you really could just jump in whenever, there would never be that rude person jumping in at the wrong time. If you really could just say whatever, there would never be that rude person saying the wrong thing. *I* am that rude person. I don’t want to be, I don’t mean to be, I really try not to be, but it really is just that hard for me to keep up. At this point, to avoid being the rude person, I just don’t speak in groups, or at least very rarely. 

I have so many examples of this type of behavior. NTs trying to inform me (or other autistic people) that loud noises don’t actually hurt. That light touch actually feels good. That the bright light isn’t really THAT bright. So many times, NTs arrogantly thinking that they way they experience the world is the ONLY way ANYONE experiences the world. That they just need to explain to me how mistaken I am when I say that something hurts, that something is hard, that I am struggling. 

Neurotypicals, please listen to me. When I say that something hurts, I am telling you the truth. Just because it doesn’t hurt YOU, that doesn’t mean it never hurts anyone. There are people out there who experience the world differently than you do – believe us when we tell you what life is like for us. 

Neurodiverse folks – what experiences have you had with NTs trying to tell you that you are incorrect about your own life? Please share in the comments! I would love to hear your perspective.

3 Comments

Filed under rant

Centaurworld – A Thought

Warning! This post will contain spoilers about the show Centaurworld

I’ve been watching through Centaurworld and I just saw an episode that gave me a thought. A thought that is actually somewhat relevant to my blog, so it’s post time!

We don’t really need to get into the nitty-gritty of the show and what it’s about for this post. So basically, our heroine, Horse, has been having adventures in Centaurworld. The adventures involve fear and trauma and struggle and victory and success and all that stuff. Basically, stuff that is a BIG DEAL for her and her friends. 

Anyway. So in this one episode she goes and meets the bird-taurs. And the bird-taurs are INFURIATING. I HATED them. SO. MUCH. Seriously, they gave me such an unspeakable rage!

Basically, it turns out the bird-taurs have been watching Horse and her adventures. They love Horse! They love the adventures! It’s so entertaining!

Yes, entertaining. They treat it as content. For them to consume and judge and comment on. The REALNESS of it is just… absent for them. Horse is over there trying to talk to them about serious things she is seriously dealing with and seriously needs help with, but to them it’s all just content. Entertainment. A show.

After the episode, I spent a little time thinking about just how angry I got over those bird-taurs. Then I realized something. What they were doing reminds me of inspiration porn and the way abled people consume inspiration porn. (I don’t want to get into it here, so if you want to read more about what inspiration porn is and why it’s bad, here is a post I found about it.)

In inspiration porn, the very real lives and struggles of disabled people are reduced to content for abled people to consume. To have FEELINGS about. And, yes, to judge. The actual lives of the disabled people in the images used for inspiration porn are not relevant. Their personhood is not relevant. The harm that inspiration porn does to disabled people is not relevant.

Which reminds me of a conversation I once had online. Basically, me and some other people with disabilities were trying to explain to abled people why we don’t like inspiration porn. The abled people were…. not really getting it. Eventually, we seemed to get to the core issue – one abled person finally just said (essentially) “yes, but inspiration porn makes us feel good! Can’t we just have this? Can’t we just have something that feels good?”

So I responded (again, essentially) “The thing we have been trying to tell you is that inspiration porn harms us. Please do not prioritize your fuzzy feelings over our actual well-being.”

The person never responded so the conversation ended there. I have no idea if what we were trying to say ever sank in. But think of it – this person was talking directly to people with disabilities, trying to explain how inspiration porn hurts us. Yet somehow, the very Realness of the people in those images and their lives never even seemed to occur to them. It was never anything more than fuzzy feelings. 

Which is exactly how the bird-taurs were acting.

Which certainly helps explain why I found them so utterly infuriating! Luckily, we were supposed to find them infuriating, so my feelings of rage were totally appropriate, if disproportionate. 

I’m really glad no one has ever made inspiration porn from an image of me. I can only imagine how much that would suck. 

Comments Off on Centaurworld – A Thought

Filed under rant

Yes, it is all in my head

(Image by Click on 👍🏼👍🏼, consider ☕ Thank you! 🤗 from Pixabay)

“It’s all in your head.”

I always felt a lot of shame when I heard that. Of course, that’s what I was supposed to feel, at least according to the people who would say it to me. They wanted me to feel shame. The goal of those words is to diminish mental illness. The sentence “it’s all in your head” is a code that really means “what you are feeling isn’t real.” At least some people truly seem to believe that we should be able to just choose to not deal with psychological issues anymore. That it is within our power to just wake up one morning and decide that we’re not depressed (or whatever) anymore.

While I am fortunate enough that I pretty much never hear that statement anymore, people have said that to me in the past. It seems to be a common sentiment, generally targeted to people struggling with mental illness.

That is so ridiculous.

Let’s go over a few things. I have depression. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. Whatever the initial causes were, it’s now ingrained deeply into my brain. I repeat – MY BRAIN. While scientists are certainly still studying and working to understand depression and what is going on in the brain that causes it, we definitely know at this point that neurotransmitters are involved. I take medication that alters my neurochemistry in specific ways to help alleviate my depression.

I also have anxiety. I could say much the same thing about it that I already did about depression. It’s in my brain. I take medication that targets certain chemicals in my brain to help alleviate that anxiety so I can function (panic attacks at the grocery store are not great). 

I am trans. Once again, scientists are still studying this, but it’s pretty solidly known at this point that the brains of trans people are different than the brains of cis [not trans] people. Our brains more closely resemble the brains of cis people of our gender identity, rather than of people who have the same genitals. There is very clearly something going on in our brains that make us what we are.

Finally – I am autistic. Oh hey, it’s another brain thing! While autism is only diagnosed through behavior, more and more is coming out about how autistic brains different from neurotypical brains. This one hits me particularly hard because while I was growing up, it was often autistic-specific problems that got targeted for “it’s all in your head” commentary. 

The thing that ties all these together – and my main point – is that every single one of those things take place inside my brain. You know, that organ that is the seat of MYSELF that also happens to live inside my skull. Which is in my head. 

Which is to say – you’re damn right it’s all in my head! 

And all of it is REAL AS FUCK. 

I’ve written about it before, but this also seriously reminds me of the phrase “if you know you’re crazy, you aren’t.” Which is, of course, complete nonsense. When I was growing up my dad would say that on occasion with complete sincerity. He really, truly believed it. One time I asked him why that is, and he replied (again with complete sincerity) that if you know you’re crazy, you’ll stop. As though you can just wake up one morning and decide to not be crazy anymore. 

What absolute nonsense.

When my depression is lying to me, it’s possible for me to intellectually know and understand that my jerkbrain is telling me lies. However, that doesn’t at all help the fact that those lies tend to feel VERY real. They come with a deep conviction, and intellectually knowing that it’s wrong will never make that conviction go away. Meds can help. Therapy can help. But I absolutely cannot just say “oh, this thing that is in my head isn’t real” and have it all just go away.

Anyway. Yeah, it IS in my head. Know what else is all in my head? I AM. My memories, my sense of self, my ME-ness. I am basically a lump of neurons piloting a meat suit supported by a skeleton. The things that happen inside my head are just as real as the things that happen to the meatsuit I happen to be wearing.

2 Comments

Filed under opinion, personal, rant

Flashlight metaphor

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted. I’d say I’m sorry but honestly? The holiday season is hectic at the best of times, plus it’s when my seasonal depression is at its absolute worst so I think I’m just going to give myself a pass. So in the interest of easing myself back into things, here is a bit of a low effort post that still is something I feel very strongly about.

I was perusing my facebook memories, as you do, when I found a rant I posted there a year ago. I cannot at all remember what sparked it in that particular instance, but wow does it still ring true for me. This is just a thing that I have experienced over and over and over and over again. It doesn’t end. It never ends. What’s sad is that the only way out of it that I’ve found is to simply trust people less.

Onto the rant/metaphor, copied directly from my facebook post: 

I’ve been perseverating for days now. Writing it out isn’t helping. Anyway, here is a rant.

Let’s say there is a pitch-black room. Complete and utter darkness. Not only that, but the person telling you to go into that room refuses to give you a flashlight. They say, “oh, it’s ok. You’re really careful, I’m sure you’ll be fine.” Your first thought is to just not go in that fucking room, right? You have no idea how big it is, what shape it is, what’s in it, ANYTHING. There could be sharp things, there could be delicate things, you could get hurt, you could hurt something or even someONE else. It’s not worth the risk! No amount of meaningless reassurance changes the ridiculous level of risk. Also, no amount of being careful will prevent you from crashing into things. But let’s say that for whatever reason you have to go into that room. So you’re super careful and cautious. Maybe the person who refuses to give you a fucking flashlight INSISTS that it’s totally ok, you’ll be fine, they get it, it’s dark, mistakes are ok! They’d give you a flashlight if they had one! Oh, it’s just too bad! Don’t worry about it, you’ll be fine. So you creep in. You go slowly and carefully. And if you’re very VERY lucky, all you bump into is a wall. But the longer you stay in there, the more likely it is that eventually you’ll run into something dangerous. That you’ll break something, or trip over the edge of a carpet, or hit something and hurt yourself.

You know what happens after that? Well I do, because I’ve lived it multiple times. The person who sent you in gets REALLY ANGRY WITH YOU. HOW DARE YOU? YOU BROKE SOMETHING VALUABLE! HOW COULD YOU HAVE MISSED THAT? Oh, it was dark? I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR EXCUSES YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER. YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE CAREFUL.

And you apologize. You really are sorry! I mean, yes, you’re bleeding too, but you really, truly didn’t mean to cause any damage and you really are sorry. So you’re so so soooo sorry, please will they forgive you, you didn’t mean it, you know you should have been more careful. 

Eventually they scream themselves out and you can tend to your own wound, but they STILL won’t give you a flashlight. You just need to be careful, ok?

I’m really tired of this game. I don’t want to play it anymore. Show me a pitch-black room, and I just won’t go in.

So there is it. I know the metaphor is broad, but it seems to happen to me again and again and again. It was true 10 years ago, it was true one year ago (when I wrote it) and it’s still true now. Has anyone else had this experience? Surely it isn’t just me.

5 Comments

Filed under rant, that's not helping

April Wears On Me

Image is of a tired teddy bear slumped over a laptop. Creative commons license, image by Nenad Stojkovic.

As I write this, it is halfway through April. Or Autism Awareness month. Or possibly Autism Acceptance month. Or “sell autism merchandise” month. Honestly, it mostly seems to be that last one.

For the past 15 days I have been absolutely bombarded with targeted advertisements for autism-related things. I expect the same for the next 15 days. And I’m already tired.

I expect that I am a particular target for those advertisements because I am autistic and I talk about it openly. It still strikes me as an odd choice, though – do the algorithms think that I need to be made MORE aware of autism somehow? Because I can assure you – I am already VERY aware of the existence of autism and autistic people. I also like to think I’m pretty accepting of autistic people, including myself. 

Ok, I’m only kind of serious there. I know perfectly well why I’m being targeted, and it isn’t to make me more aware – it’s because people are selling things, and they think that autistic people will be more likely to buy their autism-themed wares. Or (and now that I think about it, this is more likely) they think that parents of autistic children will be more likely to buy their wares, and I’m getting swept up with that because I am an adult and they have forgotten that autistic children turn into autistic adults. Whoopsie!

Often, but not always, the products feature puzzle pieces and the color blue. Often, but not always, the proceeds aren’t getting donated to any autism organizations. Often, but not always, when the proceeds are being donated, it’s to A$ or the like, rather than an actual autistic person lead organization. On one notable occasion, the seller had listened to the autistic community enough to feature rainbow infinity symbols and the colors red and gold, but was still donating to A$ which was honestly really confusing.

And it just wears on me. I know, I should just scroll right by. Don’t even look at them. I almost feel compelled to look over them every time, though. What colors are featured? What symbol is being used? Where is the money going? Why do I keep getting a stomach-ache when I look at these things? (don’t answer that. I know why) 

Like so many ills in the world today, I wish I could do something but I truly don’t know what. If the seller hasn’t bothered to listen to autistic voices yet, they certainly won’t bother to listen to me.

I don’t have a pithy wrap-up to this. I have a blog. Obviously, I am in favor of autism support and awareness and acceptance. These are good things that we need more of. But when an ad literally says “Show your support for Autism Awareness by wearing our custom products.” I just can’t even. It’s not like I’m surprised. I know this is how things are, and I know it’s not just autism stuff where this happens. 

It’s just that April wears on me. Which is a bummer, given that in theory, the month is supposed to be about accepting me.

Comments Off on April Wears On Me

Filed under rant, that's not helping

Pushback Against Autistic Headcanons

The root of this post is a reddit thread I came across a wee bit ago in which our poster talks about how they started an Instagram about fictional characters they headcanon as autistic, and the strong pushback they got against it. They were wondering why people were reacting so strongly against, apparently, the very idea of seeing fictional characters as autistic if they weren’t explicitly stated to be so by the writers. 

And OOH do I have OPINIONS on this matter. I can’t say exactly why THIS pushback happened in THIS instance because I am not psychic, but I do know why SOME pushback happens in SOME instances. So let’s get started.

First of all, let’s talk about headcanoning. A “headcanon” is a personal belief someone has about a fictional character or story that has not been actually stated IN the story, but makes sense to the person who has the headcanon. It’s pretty common for autistic people to headcanon various fictional characters as autistic because, let’s face it, autism representation is kinda sorta completely terrible. There is not a lot of autism representation in fiction in the first place, and what little there is leaves a lot to be desired. Autistic people are generally either objects of pity, quirky geniuses, or simply displayed for comedy. We hardly ever just get to be, you know, people. 

This is hardly an uncommon thing in minority groups, of course. Nor is it uncommon in those minority groups for people to headcanon a fictional character to be like them in some way – to fill in the gaps of representation, in order to see themselves when they otherwise wouldn’t. Personally, I’ve seen this a whole lot in queer people headcanoning characters as queer in some way – gay or bi or trans or something along those lines. Because representation is important.

Alright, back to autism representation. This is where it gets a little more ugly. The fact of the matter is that in real life, autistic people are rarely ever actually seen as people. We’re seen as objects. And as objects, we are very much NOT seen as having autonomy or the ability to speak for ourselves. For example, I’m sure we’ve all seen how it’s basically stated that if an autistic person can speak for themselves in some way, we are not autistic enough to “count” (honestly, what a terrible thing to say. It astonishes me how horrible people can be sometimes).

But it also means that to at least some people, when we headcanon a character as autistic, we are essentially saying that the character isn’t really a person. Which, yeah, if we were saying that it would truly be terrible. But we aren’t saying that. We’re saying that we see ourselves in that character. We identify with that character. We want to imagine that character is like us in a way that is meaningful to us. Which, to be clear, is not a conclusion we make carelessly, despite what some people think. 

And by “some people” I mean Benedict Cumberbatch (and others, but he’s always the one that comes to mine first for me). I don’t really want to dig a whole lot into what he said because quite frankly, I find it upsetting. So here is a link to a quick summation of this mess, and to summarize the summary – basically Benedict Cumberbatch thinks it’s “lazy” to headcanon people as autistic, and that imagining brilliant, successful characters as autistic “offers false hope” to autistic people, since apparently we cannot be brilliant or successful. And despite autistic people pushing back against that incredibly harmful (and cruel) narrative, it looks like there are people out there who agree with him.

Which brings us back to that reddit user’s Instagram, and the pushback they’re getting against seeing characters as autistic. It’s not at all surprising to me that they are getting this kind of pushback, but I do find it incredibly sad. Someone just wants to showcase characters that they think are like themself in some way, and people get incredibly angry about it. Because of course they do. Because instead of seeing us as people who are seeing aspects of ourselves in fictional characters, they see laziness or accusations of fictional characters being objects or whatever else. I hope that person continues their Instagram, because personally I am really into the idea. There are some fictional characters out there who I personally headcanon as autistic, because they seem like me in autism-specific ways. And you know what? IT’S OK THAT I DO THAT. 

PERIOD.

1 Comment

Filed under opinion, rant

Museum day

So this sunday I went to the Franklin Institute. I greatly enjoy museums, and a friend of mine had found a leaflet from the museum proclaiming “Sensory-Friendly Sundays.”

The description on the front says, “The Franklin Institute is proud to welcome families, adults, and groups with members on the autism spectrum to Sensory-Friendly Sunday, a day to enjoy the museum in your own way and in your own time. All are welcome!”

I’ll repeat on bit here: “a day to enjoy the museum.”

It only occurs one Sunday every two months, which I thought was kind of dismal, but I was also heartened that they were having sensory-friendly days at all, and I wanted to try it. So on one of the days listed, we went.

Well, we got there in the early afternoon and started poking around. We didn’t see much different about it but weren’t too concerned about that as it was being an enjoyable time. There were various enjoyable things to look at and interact with and it was going fairly well.

Until we got to the electricity section. Then it all went horribly, horribly wrong. It turns out that on the ceiling in the middle of the electricity exhibit there is a fairly large tesla coil. A tesla coil that goes off incredibly loudly, with no warning whatsoever.

We were there in the room, looking at an exhibit, when an incredibly loud, deeply painful ROAR occurred. Nothing was going wrong or was broken (as I first thought must have been happening). Nope, apparently that is just part of the exhibit. No signs warning us of it (at least that I saw), no announcement or notice ahead of time, just a sudden, horrible noise.

Honestly, that pretty much took everything out of me. Once I could feel my limbs again I left the room. And I tried to keep doing the museum, I really did. I didn’t want that to destroy the day. But honestly, I just couldn’t. It had taken too much out of me. It had been too painful. It was not long after that I realized I really had to leave.

Which, of course, brought up the question – what happened to this sensory-friendly day the museum was supposed to be having? A loud, painful noise given without any warning whatsoever, so that no one in the vicinity has a choice whether to be subjected to it or not, is extremely far from sensory-friendly. I would call it downright sensory UNfriendly. Maybe a sensory onslaught.

Before we left we went back into the ticketing area and looked for another copy of the leaflet to look at. A task which proved somewhat difficult, but we eventually found one. Turned out carefully looking over it and reading all the details on the back gave some critical extra information. “Specially adapted exhibits throughout the museum from 8:00 am-12:30pm” (emphasis mine). Now, I will grant you that it is my own fault for not reading the fine print. However, I do not think it’s my own fault for thinking that “day” (as mentioned in their description) actually means “day” rather than simply “morning.” But apparently when they say “day” they mean “morning” and personally, I think I’m justified in being unhappy at their word choice. I find it disingenuous.

Even for an autistic adult there is aftermath to such an event (and if it had happened when I was a child, I can only imagine the meltdown that likely would have resulted). Somehow my friend and I made it back to their apartment despite the fact that I was shutting down and finding it increasingly difficult to walk. I wound up collapsed on my friend’s bed, wearing their noise-cancelling headphones, for I don’t even know how long as I slowly, gradually, came out of my shutdown and became able to deal with the general noise and chaos of the world again.

I also want to mention what my friend was pointing out – while that noise was particularly bad for anyone with sensory difficulties, even neurotypicals would find it bad. As they put it, “It’s just really fucking loud and completely without warning. Most people don’t go to the museum to have the crap scared out of them.”

I am extremely unhappy with the Franklin Institute and think what they did, what they are doing, in the electricity exhibit is wrong on multiple levels. Is it really so impossible for those already rare sensory friendly days to actually be, you know, a whole DAY? Is there no reason they cannot give warning when they are about to assault their guests’ senses so we can opt out if we choose?

This was not ok.

1 Comment

Filed under issue, rant

Cure Femaleness Now!

A childhood picture of me – a child with femaleness. What a tragedy.

{A note on tone before we get started. This is a very sarcastic post, intended to show some of the problems of how some people talk about autism}

There is a terrible epidemic happening across the globe! An affliction known as femaleness affects approximately 49.6% of the total world population! Many people may not know just how terrible femaleness is, which is why I am here to tell you all about it.

  • People with femaleness are twice as likely to develop depression as normal people. An astonishing 1 in 5 people with femaleness experience depression at some point in their lives!  (citation)
  • While both normal people and people with femaleness experience anxiety, anxiety is both more prevalent among people with femaleness, and is more disabling for people with femaleness than for normal people. (citation)
  • About 1 in 8 people with femaleness will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. For normal people, the rate is only about 1 in 1,000.
  • At least 78% of all those with an autoimmune disorder are people with femaleness. (citation)
  • When it comes to Type 1 diabetes, people with femaleness are 40% more likely to die of it than normal people. (citation)
  • 1 in every 6 people with femaleness experience sexual assault, compared to only 1 in 33 for normal people. (citation)
  • On average, people with femaleness are paid only 78% of what normal people are paid. (citation)

The statistics are clear. Being burdened with femaleness is a terrible thing that no one should have to live with. Clearly the best solution to all of these problems is to eradicate femaleness! Please donate all of your moneys to me so I can find a cure for the scourge of femaleness.

Now to take a more serious turn, I rather hope the absurdity of this post was entirely obvious. Every point in that list is true, complete with citations if you want to look them up. They are very real problems faced by women (or those who people perceive as women) in our society. However, the list conveniently ignores any condition that is less prevalent among women than men. It ignores any benefit to society we get from having women around. The overall implication was to blame and demonize gender for gender disparities, even though that is absurd. It is far better to change society when the problems are social, and to simply address the various medical cases as they are rather than try to “cure” them via getting rid of one gender. And not only is it absurd, it is horrible. It is a terrible, awful thing to blame a person’s gender – something that is intrinsic to who they are – for possible associated problems. If a woman is experiencing menstrual cramps and is doubled over in pain, it would be absolutely horrible to simply say “oh, she’s female. women just do that sometimes” and then seek to “correct” the behavior and get her to stand up straight without addressing the underlying issue of pain.

So why do people do this all the time when it comes to autism?

2 Comments

Filed under rant, that's not helping

It’s Not Bad

I don’t know how well I am going to manage to write this post. It’s a topic I really want to write about and I increasingly find I have strong feelings about, but I doubt my ability to express myself in a clear and logical way. So this is just going to be my best try, and I suspect there is a good chance I will re-visit bits of this in the future.

It all started with the word “stupid.” With how I saw people using it. With how is always seemed to equate to “bad” and “wrong” and “personal failure.” It’s about the situations in which we use that word that way, and the overall trend associated with it.

So basically, let’s say you see someone who does not know a thing that you know. You think this thing that you know and they do not is incredibly obvious and there is no reason for a person to not know this thing – almost certainly ignoring the fact that at some point in your past you did not know that thing either.

So you respond with scorn. You sneer, you call the person who does not know that thing “stupid,” and when you say “stupid” you also mean bad, and wrong, and less than you. You get to feel superior than that person, while also feeling angry with them for not knowing the thing.

Now, I say “you” here because honestly, you almost certainly do this. I don’t think I have ever met a person who does not do this. I am ashamed to admit that I do this, though I am trying very hard to stop.

I see it regularly, with group A sneering at group B, because group B has yet to figure out that The Onion is satire. Or that DHMO is actually water. Or that whatever the latest hoax is, is a hoax. Nor is it just about who knows what. Someone enjoys a thing that you do not enjoy? Sneer at them and call them stupid! Someone cares about a thing that you do not care about? Sneer at them and call them stupid! Someone is interested by something that does not interest you? Sneer at them and call them stupid!

Years ago, a friend of mine sneered at me because I still sleep with stuffed animals in my bed. Apparently that is only for children, and adults who sleep with stuffed animals are bad and wrong and deserve to be looked down upon, even by their friends.

More recently, I saw a thread with a bunch of autistic people sneering at all the interest people had in That Dress, calling everyone stupid and vapid and bad and wrong because it was generating so much attention. I tried to speak up in favor of That Dress, because I find perception and brains and eyes and processing and such a vivid example of how people can look at the same thing but perceive it completely differently to be incredibly fascinating! Everyone ignored me, clearly preferring to sneer and judge people who were interested in a thing they did not care about.

It should be noted that this trend is used against autistic people all the time. It is very common for autistic people to have interested that are considered “not age appropriate” and I am no exception. And like that friend from years ago who sneered at me for having stuffed animals in my bed, people look down on us for it. People call us stupid when we are confused by social situations, and it is understand that stupid also means bad.

And then autistic people do it right back. I see it regularly, and I have not always managed to refrain myself. Sneering at other people’s interest in pop culture, or fashion, or parties, or whatever else. Or at people missing details we find easy to see.

And it’s not just about people looking for ways to feel superior to others based on petty differences. It’s also about the word “stupid” and how it always seems to mean bad or wrong or lesser. That’s an awful way to use the word stupid, it really is. I know people who have various sorts of learning disabilities, who find certain things challenging that other people may find easy. This does not make them bad in any way! I also know people who really are less intelligent than your average individual, who are more susceptible to scams and hoaxes, and they are sweet and lovely people!

Yet we live in a victim-blaming society, where anyone who is “stupid” enough to fall for a hoax or scam or whatever else must deserve it. Apparently we believe that people are capable of choosing their intellectual capacity, and I guess anyone who chooses to be “stupid” is a bad person.

The point is, we really need to quit doing all this mess. No more sneering at people whose only crime is to be different from us. No more using the word “stupid” to mean bad. No more looking down on people who are less smart than you in some area.

xkcd # 1053

Maybe we can be more like that instead.

2 Comments

Filed under rant

I am so sick of this

Image is of a woman prying herself out of a wheelchair in order to reach top-shelf alcohol. Text reads: “Alcohol / Makes miracles happen”

I am really struggling to find my words on this one, but I am going to try. This meme. This HORRIBLE meme. It’s hardly new, but it just keeps popping back up, again and again. I am inclined to think that there are *many* layers of awful in this, but let’s start with the obvious one. That people assume she’s faking.

*sigh*

The fact of the matter is, there are people out there who still have some use of their legs, but still need wheelchairs. It’s a thing. Yet so many people out there are either unaware of this, or just refuse to believe it.

This is an example of people policing disabled people. We have to be disabled “enough” in order to “count.” Apparently the only options are able-bodied, or para- or quadriplegic. This erases the existence of people who have partial paralysis, or MS, or degenerative diseases, or any number of other things that will severely limit a person’s mobility but still leave limited use of limbs. There are many people out there who outright need wheelchairs, but can stand for short periods of time.

Yet when looking at this picture, it seems that people just see a “faker” because, of course, that is the only option for a person standing from a wheelchair. (tone note: that was intended as sarcasm)

Only when I look at this picture, I do not see a person who is standing easily. I see a person who is standing awkwardly. Who is holding themself up with the assistance of a shelf. They do not look like they are faking it to me, so why do we have to go there?

And then, of course, there is the alcohol part. I strongly suspect that people see this, and even if they recognize that the person can probably only stand with difficulty and for short periods of time, there is judgement that the person is standing for alcohol. As though alcohol is a luxury that only able-bodied people get to have. That disabled people should stick with what we can reach. Or possible, that disabled people are supposed to be helpless. How dare someone work to get what they want, and how dare that work go towards alcohol? (more sarcasm)

And really, there are SO MANY ways that able-bodied people police disability. The comments people make when they see someone walking from their car in a disabled spot is one of them. I mean, I’m sure they think they are standing up for disability, by calling them out when able-bodied people use those spots. And yeah, there are assholes who use those spots inappropriately. However, that random person out there who yells at the person who parked there *cannot tell* if the person is disabled or not.

I’m serious. No one can. We can’t tell if the person has some form of condition that allows them to walk, but only for very short distances. We can’t tell if they have an artificial limb under their pants. We can’t tell if they have rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia or any other painful condition that makes walking agony. Yet when people yell at a person who perhaps looks fine on the surface, they are assuming they can tell. They are saying that only the visibly disabled get to have accommodations, and those who have invisible disabilities can stuff it.

And they are saying that the only ok way to be disabled is to be entirely helpless.

We need to stop it.

Right the fuck now.

Comments Off on I am so sick of this

Filed under rant, that's not helping