Autistic Bitch from Hell writes the blog Whose Planet Is It Anyway?. ABFH has always enjoyed both reading and creative writing, in addition to pondering issues of civil rights and cultural expectations. (This is an excerpt from an interview by Elesia Ashkenazy that originally appeared on Aspitude!. It appears here with Elesia’s and ABFH’s permission.)
When stereotypes are applied broadly to an entire group regardless of gender, such as the stereotype that autistics play video games all day, this has the effect of creating gender disparities in how people see the group. In Western culture, women are expected to be concerned about their appearance and are discouraged from playing video games for long periods because that is seen as unfeminine. Guys, on the other hand, are given more slack; if a guy sits around unshaven in an old T-shirt playing video games, people don’t think much of it. These gender role expectations affect the behavior of autistic girls and women who, if they are to conform to what society expects of females, must pay attention to their appearance and avoid “masculine” activities such as playing video games all day.
Because these feminine gender expectations clash with autism stereotypes, to the extent that an autistic girl or woman has a feminine gender identity and behaves accordingly, she is less likely to be perceived by others as autistic and, therefore, less likely to be diagnosed.