1. Blame it on the psychologists who use the word dissociation to describe a continuum of stuff, from what you think of as “real” dissociation down to things that are totally normal occasional experiences for everybody. If somebody reads an authoritative-sounding informational thing that says “Most people experience mild dissocation once in a while, and that’s normal, but for a few people it’s more severe or more often,” it is not at all unreasonable that they would then use the word dissociation to describe normal/mild things.
2. It might help if we could come up with more specific words for things that are dissociation-ish but not exactly. It might also help if we could use the existing words for specific types of dissociation more often (e.g. depersonalization), instead of grouping them all together.
First of all, I totally get it. I’ve made basically the same comparison. I’m assuming you had the same experience I did where you read people talking about harmful therapy and went “Wow, that feels familiar” even though you were never in therapy. I get it.
But isn’t it… a little soon, to be saying “Bullying is bad because it’s like ABA therapy”? Shouldn’t that sentence be the other way around?
I mean, the group of people in which it’s unquestioningly accepted that ABA therapy is harmful is not that big.
I feel uncomfortable about the idea of using the harmfulness of ABA therapy as a foundation to stand on to talk about how much I was harmed by other things. It seems kind of rude to put that weight on them when they’re already more than busy with all the people who can’t believe a Scientific Therapy™ could possibly be harmful.
What I feel comfortable saying about ABA therapy and abuse goes in the other direction:
When people tell me that they were harmed by ABA therapy, I believe them even though I have no personal experience with it. I believe them because I do have personal experience with bullying and emotional abuse, and I can recognize that their experiences are similar to mine; their experiences are abuse coupled with medical authority. The basic premises and underlying worldview of ABA therapy are the same premises that underlie bullying and abuse.
That’s what I have to say about ABA and bullying. They’re harmful in the same way, for a certain sense of “way.” And I think that talking about that similarity is good for both helping people understand bullying, and helping people understand how therapy can be harmful.
But inasmuch as any kind of abuse can be said to be worse overall than another, I think it’s pretty reasonable to say that receiving that abuse mindset one-on-one, in a systematized way, from a person who you’ve been taught to respect as a medical professional, is a “worse,” more intensive exposure to it than receiving it haphazardly from your peers.
I’m not going to get into this with this dude on Facebook but jeez.
“People said gross sexist things about Michelle Obama too” is not a justification for saying gross sexist things about Melania Trump.
You don’t have to care about Melania’s feelings. You don’t have to think she’s a good person, or consider what kind of treatment she “deserves” or what’s “fair”.
The issue is, when you judge one woman for having posed for nude photos, how does that judgment blow back against every other woman who has ever taken a sexy photo?
Do you want people to think that having taken nude photos is a shameful, gross, judge-able thing?
Do you want to implicitly support the sexism that says that women’s ~sexual purity~ is the most important thing about them, and that treats women doing anything sexual at all, and men being accused of sexual assault, as equally bad “sex scandals”?
Do you really want to do that, in the name of gross petty “but they started it!” revenge?
(or: this again)
There are people out there who have real honest-to-goodness immediate genuine Feelings of fear and anxiety, instead of freeze-dried individually wrapped text-message notification awarenesses of disaster occurring. What a thing. What things there are in this world.
Like, ok, you have your heart-pounding terror, good for you, and I have my heart-sorta-pounding-but-in-a-fake-low-blood-pressure-way and my slow slow frozen thoughts and my calmly and gently attempting damage control measures while the world collapses.
They sorta kinda implied that heart-pounding terroriness is the definition of Real trauma, but I know that’s not what they meant, and it’s not even really what they said. I’m not complaining about that.
I’m just having that feeling that’s like: why am I so un-relatable?
I feel like the only people I’ve heard describe doing the thing that I do– they don’t analyze it in terms of anxiety or anything like that. They don’t use those words for themselves. They think they’re actually being normal-calm. So I can’t exactly discuss it with them.
and I was going to be like “See, this is how you de-escalate an argument!” but honestly they were shockingly nice and now I don’t feel like I can really take the credit.
I do wish I knew if they’d read my “about” page, just so I could have the full context. I’m guessing not, but if they did, they get +10 niceness poinst and 2 Confusion Tokens because I’m, like, three separate things they declare themself to be Anti on their own about page.
Today I saw yet another person trying to make a statement about “atypical”/”female” autism traits, and I’m a little frustrated. I mean, it’s good that people aren’t taking either the assumed femaleness or the assumed rareness of these traits at face value, but… can we not go around claiming to know definitively what does create those traits or make them a distinct subtype? Because we don’t know. Has anyone studied this? In a way that acknowledges that gender and assigned sex are different things? No? Then how do we know whether these traits are actually more common in women, or more common in AFAB people, or anything?
(I’m guessing no one has actually studied this even in a trans-erasing way. This dividing people up into highly-detailed ~types~ is very tempting… and it’s basically what psychology is built on… but it’s kind of hard to turn it into a falsifiable hypothesis and I’m guessing nobody has bothered.)
People are answering this question based on what they think should be true. People who think everything is biological are calling it a biological difference. People who don’t believe in sex-based brain differences are saying it can’t possibly be biological, it has to be social. People who are concerned about respecting trans and nonbinary people are saying a lot of different things depending on what they think about gender.
But it’s all so reductive! Even if we knew for sure that (a) these traits were associated with gender, and (b) that the association was becaues of learned social norms, saying “These traits are caused by this experience which is caused by having this gender” is so so so oversimplified.
This is very personal stuff to make such broad, simplified statements about. Avoiding TERF logic re: gendered socialization is good, but by asserting a one-sentence explanation of why people have these traits, you’re explaining people’s genders and personalities to them and not giving them any room to disagree.
And also, again, you don’t actually know what causes this. You just know that some people have noticed what seems like a gender-related pattern. That’s all.
Some factors that might affect whether someone is perceived as having “typical” or “atypical” autistic traits:
- Their actual internal experience of autism, not everybody actually has the same set of autism “symptoms”
- Their internal experiences of some other mental illness or disability
- Other brain differences maybe IDK, who really knows how brains work?
- Gendered norms/stereotypes they’ve internalized
- Cultural norms in general they’ve internalized
- Smaller-scale norms they’ve internalized or lessons they’ve learned (e.g. things about their family that aren’t typical for their society at large)
- Their own individual fucking personalities
- Other people’s internalized cultural norms, assumptions about autism, and personal opinions and biases, which affect which of an autistic person’s traits they notice and how they interpret those traits.
And this category that we’re sorting people into is so fuzzy anyway! How can you possibly say there’s one definitive explanation for it?
I keep seeing people who are– very justifiably and understandably– concerned about straight men taking advantage of women they have sex with, but who direct that concern and suspicion specifically at men who ID as aromantic, and like…
Continue reading ““not deep romantic love”≠ “soul-sucking evil””
The thing that gets me about the whole “you can’t call historical people gay because they conceived of sexuality differently” thing is this:
We already conceive of sexuality and gender significantly differently than we did 30-40 years ago.
I agree that it’s important to remember that there are different models for this kind of thing, and different societies in different time periods have varied a lot in how they understood and categorized sexuality.
I think that’s very important, I’m just not sure that taking modern terms out of people’s mouths is a useful way to do it.
Given that applying current understandings of gender and sexuality and the difference between them to even the LGBT people from right here, 40 years ago, has us running into problems… (the main one being who is trans and who isn’t, because we see that dividing line as a lot sharper and a lot more important than they generally did)
And given that the time period you’re talking about may not have its own set of words readily available, or the only ones that are available may be ones used to pathologize and criminalize…
At some point you just have to pick a word, and acknowledge that it’s not the perfect word, don’t you?
I saw a post on Tumblr that talked about how people with Down syndrome are stereotyped as being always happy, and how they can feel pressured to act happy all the time for fear of disappointing/upsetting people. “Positive” stereotypes are still restricting, after all.
(And I was like Yeah, that’s a really shitty thing about that stereotype, and there are some similar stereotypes about disability in general, being “inspiring” and “not letting it stop you” and “not giving up” and so forth. Good post.)
One person commented saying that they’ve run events to teach people with disabilities about self-advocacy and disability rights, and one of the things they have to talk about is that it’s ok to disagree with people, to make people mad, to assert your own opinions and take up space.
And then I was like No, wait, but doesn’t everyone feel like that? Isn’t simply expressing an opinion and expecting people to listen scary for everyone?
No, Minty. No. That’s you.