I am a female with autism. Something that I have felt most of my life is that I feel more masculine than feminine in my inner self however outwardly I definitely look feminine such as makeup and I do my hair etc but inwardly I feel and see myself as more of a male. Has anyone experienced this?
I'm so glad to see this thread, I've struggled with this all my life. I was a teenager in the 70s when things were less 'enlightened' than now (although I'm not sure how much has really changed). All through my teens and twenties people constantly told me I was 'denying my femininity' by being 'too analytical' and that I was 'mannish' and too 'hard' or 'cold'. I also found the changes at puberty really difficult and remember asking when I was about 15 to be put on the pill continuously because I'd heard it would suppress periods - the (female) doctor told me women need periods psychologically to feel feminine - I though that I must not be a woman then. I also don't like body hair as some of you have mentioned - people sometime suggest I should transition to a man - yuk! Be hairier? Ughh.
In my teens, I wore make-up and dresses thinking that this might 'disguise' my alleged masculine brain but I found that dressing up as a woman gets you all kinds of unwanted attention so I abandoned that. I came out as gay in my twenties and found yet another really prescriptive environment where you were supposed to conform to one or other gender all over again. I obligingly had a go at adopting a 'butch' lesbian identity but abandoned the project as it was (a) inane and (b) proscriptive. If you failed to conform to one or other gender stereotype consistently people would point it out constantly - and that's inconvenient as sticking to one gender stereotype seems unnecessarily restrictive and requires concentration. Made me think of Emerson - "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds". Then came the 80s and lesbians started pushing everyone to conform to some ideological construct of 'natural' femininity and I was constantly told I 'think like a man' so my brain is oppressive to other women (huh? So *I'm* not a woman then?). Not sure if I was supposed to remove my brain, scrub it clean of intellectual tendencies and replace it tidily so I can be a cuddly group-thinker who never challenges anyone? Yuk!
I've finally ended up at the position that my brain is neither male nor female, it's just a brain. I've checked out the science on alleged gender difference and it's really not conclusive at all, there's no consensus and there are scientists on both sides of the debate. I'm working on the assumption that whilst there may be some minor differences in the brain across genders I'm pretty sure that differences between individuals are far greater across a spectrum of behaviour and thinking. Cultural differences in the way boys and girls are raised could account for most, if not all, of it. The autistic brain is something else again and they're just falsely linking autistic characteristics with masculinity because they're lazy and simplistic thinkers. I do think that 'society' is far more sympathetic towards men/boys showing autistic characteristics than women - and that's mainly because culture allows a far wider range of behaviours in men than in women. Women are expected to be less intelligent and more supportive/subservient. We're not supposed to question things, analyse, or have minds of our own.
I was particularly annoyed by a recent study claiming to have definitively proven that women's brains are different from men's and that autistic women are 'masculine'. I'm baffled by people suggesting that one's brain can have a different gender from the rest of one's body - that's some people's experience obviously, but it really isn't mine. My problem is other people hassling me about how inconsistently I perform gender but I don't have an internally experienced contradiction. I don't have the feeling that I'm male 'inside' and female 'outside'. I don't really take that much notice of my 'outside' honestly and my inside doesn't feel like it has gender. It's just me.
I really don't give a crap what I wear as long as it's comfy, and I can't tolerate anything other than soft natural fabrics next to my skin. I find men patronise me less when dressed in clothing associated with masculinity and women criticise me less in clothes associated with femininity so you win some and you lose some. In 'masculine' clothes men regard women as somewhat threatening - I'll settle for that as I hate being talked down to like I'm some ditsy child. When I was a teenager I lived in jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes (now known as trainers). I wore the 80s gay uniform of black jeans and white t-shirt with a leather jacket in my 30s. I'm a bit old now, jeans catch me across the middle so I mainly wear loose tunics and leggings and soft shoes these days. This means I get patronised by other gay people for failing to look 'gay' enough - although interestingly I must have gained some kind of authority with age as men seem less inclined to patronise me, whatever I wear.
I've concluded that gender is nothing but a hobgoblin of little minds. I do my best to ignore it as far as anyone can with everyone carping all day about my failure to produce a consistent facsimilie of stereotypical 'feminine' behaviour. I'm neither masculine nor feminine, I'm an intelligent and logical person who can read a map, with biological female sexual organs. Get over it! Why are these idiots so obsessed with gender stereotypes? Pfffft!
I totally agree with this. Gender stereotypes have been created and I think a lot less people fit into them than they care to admit but people like to fit in. Yes there will be some differences between male and females due to hormones and there may be some differences between the brains but not to the extent that shows.
There was a really interesting program on tv a year or 2 ago about gender stereotypes. A guy went into a school and showed all the ways they lead girls and boys. They showed the same in shops etc too. It was fascinating and showed that a lot of children choose what is expected rather than what they really like but they think they are choosing what they like.
As a teacher it’s encouraging to see some girls embracing non gender stereotypical roles. I’m hoping for a society that accepts all of us as individuals
I leave it to others how they want to bring up their kids, but I would never align myself with a society that pushes stereotypes at the cost of developing individuality. Just because most of the people in society do it, it still doesn’t mean it has to be your reality. It’s not ‘we’ as a society, if you don’t agree with it. It’s, this is what the society I currently live in, pushes, but I don’t and neither do lots of other people in the society.
I can’t remember saying someone hadn’t understood, but I definitely wouldn’t have been saying someone was wrong. I don’t think that way.
Yeah, I get tired from social interaction. I’ve started to listen to asmr and guided meditations more often, which are really helping. And one day, I’ll be back to my usual meditation, but the guided ones are helping.
I particularly like the loving kindness meditations. Do you listen to asmr?
I've never heard of asmr. But I hate meditation. It makes me feel really uncomfortable. It definitely doesn't relax or destress me.
Just as you dream of being a girlie girl, i dream of being able to participate better in social settings. Im sure you are accepting of who you are still, even though you dream of this.
When you say about "not accepting it and try learning the art of conversation" why should i not accept it? I cant fundamentally change who i am. I just dream of being able to socialise a bit differently (better?) but know that even with practise i will fall short.
I bet most people wouldnt notice this of me. I think i hide it very well.
ASMR is something that people experience. It's relatively common amongst autistic people but it's not something that only autistic people experience.
There are thousands upon thousands of meditations and if you haven't found even a single one that you like, ASMR might not be your thing either. But it's worth checking out.
As with meditations, there are many ways to enjoy asmr. It's a kind of tingling, or nice feeling you get when you hear certain sounds or go through certain role plays. I love the role plays and I love tapping. But I only discovered it last year, so there will be loads I haven't tried yet.
If you have access to YouTube, just type in ASMR and try a few out. They work better with headphones. Many autistic people get a great deal of benefit from listening to it. I do and I've always loved the tingles, before I ever knew what they are, so now I have them on tap. And even if I don't get tingles every time, I still feel relaxed, listening/watching them.
Let me know what you think if you check it out.
I don't really want to be a girly girl. That's why I said it's like a childlike dream kind of thing. It's not that I want to be one, because how could I be? I'm not one. But I can appreciate and admire those who are and enjoy a little part of it by thinking about it in my mind sometimes.
But no, I definitely don't want to be one and if you knew me in person, you would realise that I would never be a girly girl, even if I wanted to be one and even if I tried ~ I could pull it off but it wouldn't be me. I'm too far out of the box, as one woman said recently, to fit into any known category! Lol!
You can't change who you fundamentally are, but you're not, fundamentally a conversation! The art of conversation comes naturally to some, but for most people, it's a skill that they learn, practice and perfect, over time. Usually over many years.
So if you refuse to accept that you're not very good in the art of conversation, you can do something about it. You can say, I may not be very good at it but I won't let that stop me from learning the art. You could say, I do not accept that limitation about myself, I will learn the art of conversation and override it. If you simply accept it, at best, you might get a little bit better at it but you will always be rubbish at it because that is what you have accepted. Water rises to its own level, as they say.
Stopping hiding it would be a good start at getting better at it. You could then get people to help you. Otherwise how are you going to learn if you hide it? How can people help you if they don't know you need help? And if you have accepted it, why are you hiding it? We usually only hide the things we think are bad, the things we can't accept, don't we?
Like I said before, this is futile.
Out of interest how do you propose i go about getting help? You seem to have lots of answers perhaps you could tell me.
I subconsciously hide it in the way in which i naturally am. (For example a smile or laugh here and there which happens automatically when i dont know how to respond. This could be construed as"sweet" for example when in reality the purpose of this is to mask.)
What's futile? Is this related to a different conversation?
I don't know where you got the impression from that I know a lot of answers? I thought I was asking questions to gain a better understanding of what was being said so I could participate in the conversation? I didn't think I was giving answers?!?!?
Anyway, if you're asking about how to develop the skill of the art of conversation, then I would approach it like I would any other skill that I'm learning.
First of all, what is your learning style? For example, do you like to learn in a classroom environment or do you like to learn from the comfort of your own home? Do you learn from reading or listening to a book? If I know a bit more about your learning style I can point you to some good resources.
Yeah, I guess that's the thing with masking, when we're being dishonest, it's easy for people to interpret us in a way we never intended. This happens even when we are being honest, but I think it probably happens more when we're being dishonest.