FeMENism

Years ago, I came to the conclusion that looking for answers on the internet can’t be good for anyone’s mental health. I mean, you’ve seen my opinions on cat vs dog arguments three times now. And race and religion themed debates. Don’t even get me started on people who genuinely think that people with Asperger’s are sociopaths…

Then there’s feminism. I’ve “liked” several feminist Facebook pages, and in doing so, have learned two things. One: that female specific struggles aren’t as widely understood as they seem. Two: that it is impossible to write an article on the topic and not receive a “not all men” comment. Making it all about them by insisting it isn’t all about them.

Believe me, I agree. It’s not all men. In fact, I don’t think any of the main men in my life are remotely condescending to women. But posts like this aren’t trying to attack every member of the male race; rather, they are highlighting issues caused by some men that affect women. It’s not that women should receive better treatment than men – of course women who harm men should be punished. It’s just that these judgements shouldn’t be made based on a person’s gender.

As for “so it’s ok to hit women?” Unless someone is holding a weapon to your throat, trying to steal your money, or hurting your kids, hitting anyone isn’t exactly good manners.

The most obvious issues are of a sexual nature. If a woman is raped, there are always people – even other women – who blame her. And if subjected to any mistreatment short of rape, well, isn’t she lucky to be getting off so lightly? No. Men, don’t play the “nice guy” to increase your chances of pulling girls. Be a “nice guy” because you cannot be anything else.

Also, sexism does affect men. Thanks to it, it’s basically shameful for men to like pink, care about animals or show their emotions, limiting the potential of guys who are like that. Regardless of who started them, these views have been reinforced by men and women alike, and it is so often real “nice guys” who suffer for it.

Plus there’s pop culture. True, the more recent Disney girls have interests outside of romance, but for each one who falls in love, name one who doesn’t. One of my guilty pleasures is the Warriors book series* by Erin Hunter. One subplot features a female character choosing one male over another, to which the other responds by trying to murder her family. Yet if you look on Facebook or the Warriors forum, many people, including girls, blame her for “leading him on.” Come on ladies, is murder ever justifiable?

And to guys who have insisted that “not all men” are like that, I’m glad to hear you’re not. But don’t just say it, show it. If white people can be anti racist, straight people be LGBT rights activists and humans be animal rights activists, why can’t more men stand for feminism?

 

Me with my ladies. Well, my mother and sister (middle and right): 

 

 

*Basically Watership Down but with wild cats instead of rabbits. If you read it, you’d disagree with the 9-11 age range too.

How does Asperger’s Syndrome affect me?

To recap: on my last post, I mentioned that, as part of my internship, I am doing a Christian Discipleship course. Which, last week, involved going on a weekend away. I often enjoy these things more than I anticipate, and knowing that this one involved a lot of socialising and outdoor activities, I needed explain to the group leader about how Asperger’s affects me.

Hence my parents persuading me to write this letter. For anyone getting to know me, or someone else with the condition, you might find it insightful. For my fellow aspies out there, feel free to use this as an example or template* when explaining your own needs. Here goes:

Hello,

I’m writing to explain how having Asperger’s Syndrome affects me. Asperger’s is on the mild end of the autistic spectrum, and is less obvious than other forms of autism. I am gentle and articulate, and communicate best through writing. I’m looking forward to getting to know people, and would really like to get the most out of being a part of this community.

My main struggles include social interaction, physical co-ordination, and taking in lots of information from different sources or with a lot of distractions. In a group setting I struggle to keep up with what’s going on. I may either keep asking or lose focus altogether. It helps if someone discreetly updates me on things I need to know, one to one. I am more likely to understand instructions/explanations that are a concise summary of the main points, rather than too much detail. I like being on top of schedules, so I hope I don’t seem pushy if I keep asking what is going to happen

Lively group situations can be overwhelming, and I don’t present myself at my best when I don’t know anyone. I tend to be more at ease and outgoing with a close friend. Once I am used to people, I am co-operative, friendly and motivated. I am better at mingling than I was, but I still sometimes drift towards the edge of the group without trying. I also find it hard to remember names and faces at first – just bear with me when this happens.

Despite this, I do want to connect with people. I try very hard to treat others well and care deeply for my close friends. Contrary to the autism stereotype, I am empathetic and intuitive to people’s emotions. It’s on-the-spot, face-to-face interaction I find harder, not to mention draining! It’s not that I don’t want to be with you personally, it’s just that I often need time to myself.

Being autistic means that I show signs of dyspraxia (impaired physical co-ordination). I’m good at long walking, running and lifting heavy objects, but have more trouble with team games, walking on uneven or unstable terrain and learning directions. My fine motor co-ordination is much better, meaning I am good at using my hands for small, precise tasks.

I know this sounds like a lot, but apart from where specified, I don’t expect anyone to do anything drastically differently. Usually I just want others to understand and be patient. When in the right place (literally and emotionally) I am intelligent, mild mannered, witty and a deep thinker, and I hope that I can make friends and contribute to the fullest.

Hope this helps, and thank you for reading!

Grace

 

 

*but not publicly as if it was your own!