Sort of an addendum to this.
There are actually a couple of different layers to my feelings about autism stereotypes vs Asperger’s stereotypes.
There’s a very cynical angle, which I sort of touched on in the previous post, but I framed it in a nice way. “Lead people towards the stereotype that’s easier for me to deny” is a practical strategy, and the fact is, being (a) an adult (b) generally able to talk (c) unlikely to have a meltdown in public means I’m pretty safe from the worst assumptions that the word autism might lead people to make about me. By calling myself autistic and basically just daring people to stereotype me, I’m taking advantage of that.
There’s also a personal angle.
I am just so tired of being laughed at. I am so tired of things that I say sincerely being received as jokes, things that I’m interested in being considered ridiculous, the way I talk being a joke, the way I dress, the way I act…
And the thing is, it’s so subjective. The funniness of these things, to a significant degree, comes from the ways people are primed by stereotypes to see them as funny. Once people start viewing you through that lens, the things you do start becoming ridiculous, even if nobody would have paid attention to them before. And that perception sticks to you, no matter how hard you try to be unexceptional and unfunny and normal. When people expect you to be ridiculous– or no, when people believe you to be inherently ridiculous by nature– anything you do can be a joke.
This is the story of my life from approximately ages 10 to 18.
And in practice, I understand that everyone does things accidentally that are genuinely funny sometimes, and people can laugh at me without sticking my permanently in that role, and I am learning to deal with things like this in a nuanced way, and so on and so forth, but emotionally I am So Done With This.
I’d honestly rather carry a gross, scary stereotype than a funny one at this point.
There’s also how it looks to other people, and the joke-double-bind comes into play there, too.
When someone laughs at how you talk and jokes about what a nerd you are, and you respond by getting mad, people don’t get it. They think you need to learn to take a joke. And more than that, they think the fact that you can’t take a joke proves the truth of the stereotype.
When someone calls you an empty shell, says you’re a burden on society, says that nothing you say is worth listening to and you can’t even really be upset because people like you don’t really have feelings,
if you get mad about that, then people… at least, people who are willing to accept the basic premise that you have feelings… are more likely to understand why you’re upset.
Disgust is more dangerous than dismissal, but it’s easier to bring it out in the open and confront it.