31 January, 2007

How I got here

Posted in Asperger's and Autism, Creative Destruction, Crossposts, Gender Issues, Personal Ramblings at 1:03 pm by Daran

In a comment, to my recent post David Byron said:

I’m not interested in how you got to this specific web page. I would be more interested in how people became attuned to the discrimination against men that goes on since that is what is unusual about people here.In particular I wonder how many have had a Child of the Glacier style experience, vs those who didn’t see any anti-male discrimination until they got hit with it like a brick as an adult (eg divorce). How many were aware of these issues and formulated them out of their own mind vs how many had to read about them from someone else to become aware.

I’m personally curious about how people found the two blogs I started. I’m also aware that there’s been little substantive blogging on FCB recently, on my part because of all the stuff I’ve been doing setting it up. So that post was intended to be nothing more than a bit of light entertainment pending something more substantial.

He asks a good question, though, and his own reply is worth reading. My earliest recollection of consciously observing (and objecting to) a gender norm dates to about the same age, I guess, as Adams was. That would put it in the early seventies. I noticed, (and remember complaining about to my parents), that bad things almost never happened to women in the action/adventure films I watched on TV. They never got killed on the battlefield or in the wild western shoot-out. They didn’t fall into pits of boiling lava, nor did they ever get eaten by dinosaurs. They might get captured by the baddies, but the baddies never did anything actually bad to them, and they always got rescued anyway. Men, by contrast, got casually wasted in their scores.

Even younger – six or seven I guess, I remember being very apprehensive of being put into a class with a male teacher. It wasn’t that any man had done anything bad to me, but that I simply had never been in the charge of any man except my Dad, and of course, he was away at work most of the day. Up until then, all my carers other than him had been female.

Other early childhood memories which may or may not have had a gender element were that I always felt in the shadow of my older sister, who was always physically bigger, more capable, more socially successful, and seemingly favoured by my parents. How much of that was gender, and how much was age and how much was my being Aspie is hard to tell.

I have a vague memory of wanting to do something girly, and meeting with the disapproval of my father, though I don’t remember what it was I wanted to do, or how he expressed that disapproval.

I also remember feeling totally unprotected in the face of the schoolyard bullying I was suffering, that nobody would take it seriously. (Of course, nobody had taken it seriously, that I was aware of. All they had done was pass the buck explicitly back to me.) I didn’t connect it to gender, though, but to childhood. I felt that, as a child, I wasn’t important enough to protect.

Like Hugh, I could never flirt as a teen or even a young adult. It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I ever flirted, and it was a real ‘Gosh, I can do this’ moment. Even now, I daren’t initiate.

Also in my late twenties/early thirties I had my first encounter with feminist hostility toward male-survivors I describe some of these incidents in this post, and in a couple of the comments.

What I never did, as Adams appears to have done at a very early age, is join the dots. Instead I swallowed the script as it has been fed to me: Women were the disfavoured sex; it was men who are violent toward women, not the other way about (my personal experiences of violence by women notwithstanding); men received favourable treatment in court. Etc. It wan’t until I found usenet in 1999 that I first encountered rightwing antifeminists/MRAs, the kind that David calls Chauvinists. What an eye-opener that was!

My first reaction was that their behaviour was appalling, and their purported facts seemed absurd. My second reaction when I tried to defend feminism from them, was that they were well prepared for the argument, and I wasn’t. I had to wise-up and educate myself. Some of their alleged facts stood up. Other’s turned out to be garbage, but many feminist claims fared no better. After a while, feminists and antifeminists came to look more and more like mirror images of each other, and I realised that I could not in good faith defend feminism while excoriating the Chauvinist antifems for their misogyny.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

(Crossposted between Creative Destruction, DaRain Man, and Feminist Critics.)

15 December, 2006

On the Net, Everybody is… What?

Posted in Asperger's and Autism, Blogosphere, Personal Ramblings at 2:58 am by Daran

(This post was adapted from a comment I made over at Creative Destruction.)

Diane:

…on the net, everybody has asperger’s

You could make just as good a case saying “On the net, everybody is neurotypical”, though I don’t think either statement is accurate. My view is that the net (or to be more precise, non-realtime, text-based communication), is a leveller. The advantage NT’s have over Aspies/Auties in non-verbal communication is neutralised, as are some Aspies/Auties disadvantages.
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12 December, 2006

DaRain Man

Posted in Abbott and Costello, Alas a Blog, Apologies and Peace Offerings, Asperger's and Autism, Marcella Chester, Personal Ramblings, Q Grrl at 6:07 am by Daran

Lifts head above parapet, and looks wearily from side to side

Does anyone remember the film “Rain Man“, and how the titular character, a profoundly autistic “savant”, was enraptured by the Abbott and Costello Skit “Who’s on First?” To him it’s a puzzle. He tries to figure out what it means, but he can’t solve the problem, because there is no solution. It doesn’t mean anything. But Rain Man can’t see this, so he keeps on trying to figure it out.
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