Women with Aspergers

Alexis Wineman, former Miss Montana, Aspergers
Alexis Wineman was Montana’s entry in the 2013 Miss America Competition. Normal is just a Dryer Setting – Living with Autism. Wineman is Aspergers.
As I have noted before, the United States and much of the West grows its women socially far differently than men. That creates a problem when the subject of women Aspergers is discussed or researched. Some of the “tells” that are relied upon to diagnose Aspergers in males are, quite often, social traits that are desirable in females in our culture.

As I understand it, originally Aspergers was believed to be a condition of males. More research was done and the hoary four males for every female ratio was created. As of 2016, I would suggest that anyone who makes a definitive statement on the topic is full of bullcrap. We just don’t know and far more research is needed.

The Asperger/Autism Network has a page dedicated to trying to explain how Aspergers presents in women. They note that women receive far more training in how to deal with others than men do, and that allows them to “develop a stronger social facade.” I have seen the phrase “social mimicry” used to describe this.

Women who are “introverted”, “quiet” or “shy” are not seen as unusual. Women are not expected to be coordinated and athletic. In many cultures, women are not expected to look others in the eye, especially men.

That said, the AANE piece contains a large number of general assumptions that are not researched based. All Aspergers are different and all female Aspergers are different. This is a “small grain of salt” piece. Take what it says with a “small grain of salt.”

Life on the Spectrum has a post titled Asperger’s in Women. One of its very first sentences reflects the cultural challenges faced by Aspergers women. “The psychologist who diagnosed me explained that women are naturally more skilled at social interaction than men …”

Think about that statement for a moment. Skills for social interaction are genetically sex based? That assumption alone condemns Aspergers women, as well as any woman with poor social interaction skills as “unnatural.”

You are very natural, very normal, very unique and no professional should ever tell you otherwise.

Everday Aspergers posted a list of traits that the author feels that Asperger women exhibit.

  1. We are deep philosophical thinkers and writers.
  2. We are innocent, naive, and honest.
  3. We are escape artists.
  4. We have comorbid attributes of other syndromes/disorders/conditions.
  5. We learn that to fit in we have to “fake” it.
  6. We seek refuge at home or at a safe place.
  7. We are sensitive.
  8. We are ourselves and we aren’t ourselves.
  9. Feelings and other people’s actions are confusing.
  10. We have difficulty with executive functioning.

Frankly, much of that list applies to me, an Aspergers male. These traits comprise a great Aspergers list, and a long discussion worth reading accompanying each item.

See also:
Adult Autism/Asperger Syndrome Assessment in Females
How Can We Do Better By Our Autistic Girls?