, , , , , ,


A person with cute autism might commit a faux pas, but he will not be shamed and kicked out of school for it. He might utter a gaffe, but he will not permanently alienate a friend group because of it. He won’t destroy relationships. He won’t have an ugly emotional meltdown in public, or freak out and hit someone. While Sheldon Cooper’s friends on The Big Bang Theory are often exasperated and annoyed, they never shun him, because Sheldon never crosses the line into causing true offense and hurt. The writers carefully keep Sheldon just on this side of being awful. That is a high bar to set for autistic people in the real world.

in real life there is no room for the totality of an autistic person, because there is no tolerance for it. there is no tolerance for it because the portrayal of autistic people on television and in movies is the white-washed version of autistic reality. it is a vicious cycle of neurotypical people gimp-splaining to us and each other and at the same time demanding that we be autistic, politely and quietly, according to their rules. they do so love our little quirks – our little quirks they want. if we insist on being ‘really autistic’, they prefer that we be so out of sight, so we do not upset them and their neurotypical lives. neurotypical people simply cannot handle the truth about being an autistic person.

Consider the autism muppet, Julia, on Sesame Street. She is the epitome of adorable, and she teaches children to tolerate kids who don’t want to be touched, or don’t give eye contact, or make flappy hands. Julia will never push a joke too far or unwittingly say something unforgivably racist. Julia will never do something disgusting, or scary, or inexplicable, because Julia’s job is to teach kids that autism is safe and fine.

autism is not safe and fine. autism is not cute. autism is public melt-downs, saying hurtful things without realizing it, hurting oneself and others both physically and emotionally again and again and not being able to control oneself. autism is not being able to use public transportation because one might freak out because of the smell, light, sound and crowdiness. autism is never feeling safe and fine, because one has to hide the ugly, crazy, scary, disgusting parts of being autistic and be in constant fear that one will fail.