- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Women with Aspergers Syndrome Uncovered
The female with Aspergers Syndrome
Before I received my ‘official label,’ of having Aspergers Syndrome I read a very good book which was the initial inspiration for this article i.e. Aspergers Syndrome for Dummies. In Chapter five they discuss the different types of women who have Aspergers Syndrome and how there are often some general characteristics that are present in most Aspie females.
So as a woman with Aspergers Syndrome myself I am now putting my own slant on this both from what I know myself and from what I have observed in others. It is good to also note here that at present the majority of women with Aspergers Syndrome still remain undiagnosed.
Aspergers Syndrome as observed by an Aspie
So here are my observations of the varying types of females with Aspergers Syndrome. How exactly does Aspergers Syndrome manifest itself in females and how does this make them behave differently to other women. Of course this list is not complete and is just a description of my own experiences and observations. There are also many other females with Aspergers Syndrome out there who will not slot neatly into any particular genre and instead may take some characteristics from those described below.
The Fashion Goddess Aspergers Woman
Contrary to popular belief just because you have Aspergers Syndrome it is not always a given that you must also be totally devoid of any fashion sense. Like every other species on this planet the Aspergers Syndrome female has now evolved and there is no longer a one size fits all typical Aspergers woman. The modern Aspie lady can now no longer be considered to be the stereotypical type of autistic person that used to always be portrayed in the media and in research literature as being totally uninterested in her appearance.
Today folks there are many women out there on the Spectrum who have actually taken on the role of being a Fashion Goddess Aspie to such an extreme that their body image and wardrobe has become an all consuming passion for them and could often now actually be their area of special interest.
I tried this myself for a while but it was just too much hard work for me and I wasn’t cut out for the fashion world. One day I eventually woke up and realized that my outer appearance could never actually fulfill me within. Yes I was still concerned about my appearance but underneath I was also in huge psychological turmoil and having the right shoes or the latest bag just wasn’t doing anything for me anymore.
Very often though the Aspergers Fashion Goddess goes much further than my feeble attempts and is often stunningly attractive and groomed within an inch of her life. She has a ‘to die for figure,’ which she works tirelessly to preserve. Her wardrobe is crammed with all the right labels and often her credit card is under a constant considerable strain also. The Aspergers Fashion Goddess also has perfect nails, luscious locks and she has an instinctive ability to spot a fake fashion item from a great distance.
Unfortunately though for the Aspergers Fashion Goddess her appearance is actually just her mask i.e. her defense mechanism that she uses to defend herself from the confusing, frightening neurotypical world or just her way of attempting to fit in.
It has largely been through observation and research that the Aspergers Fashion Goddess has garnered her in-depth knowledge of the fashion world. So her current image only actually came about as the result of relentless observations of women she admired until she pieced all her studies together and used this knowledge to create a ‘neurotypical,’ version of herself. Autistic girls do this to try to mask their autistic confusion, difference and the inadequacy that their autistic brain feels because they have no idea why they see the world differently because they are usually unaware of their Aspergers Syndrome. So the Fashion Goddess image is actually just one defense mechanism adopted by autistic girls to cope with their inner confusion and psychological turmoil.
Of course it usually doesn’t work so well because other women are unnerved by this Fashion Goddess’s constant state of perfectness along with her ensuing stony silences and her more than occasional aloof attitude. Other females also often perceive the Aspergers female as being self-centered or maybe just totally detached or uninterested. As an Aspie female I know though that this is not intentional on the part of most Aspie females.
The truth of the matter actually is that many women with Aspergers Syndrome (especially when they have never received a diagnosis) are usually just insecure and lacking in the necessary ability to know how to handle intense social interactions that certainly do not come easily to them. So rather than making themselves more anxious by doing or saying the wrong thing often the Aspergers girl just prefers to remain silent so she can observe and learn how to be social.
Men on the other hand are often attracted to this beautiful woman but the vibes that she gives off usually turns them off or maybe her icy stare just scares them to death. Also the Aspergers Fashion Goddess is often very confused as to how to handle any male advance and often misses the usual subtle flirting cues that neurotypical ladies will instinctively just get and know how to handle.
So the Aspergers female will often find it difficult and very hard work to try and form a relationship with a significant other. This is also hard to handle when you are already constantly making such a huge effort to appear normal and in spite of this you are still being singled out as different.
This is usually the biggest dilemma for every female with undiagnosed Aspergers Syndrome. Deep down she innately knows that she is different to other people. So she feels she has to work extra hard at socializing and despite all the effort she puts in to her Fashion Goddess image underneath her confusion and lack of confidence at her absence of social and communication skills means she is often in constant psychological turmoil. So even though these Aspegers females may appear super confident on the outside underneath she is actually experiencing total turmoil and panic. So please just give the next Fashion Goddess Aspie you meet the benefit of the doubt and just try to get to know her before writing her off.
The Intellectual Aspergers female
This is the somewhat more traditional type of Aspergers female that we usually see portrayed in the media or in research literature. This autistic female is usually in no way interested in fashion or material trivialities. In fact when she encounters an Aspergers Fashion Goddess she is likely to think that possibly she would have a lot more in common with an alien life form with ten green heads rather than such a specimen. For the Intellectual Aspergers female clothes are something that are just deemed as necessary in the same way as other essentials like food or breathing but they in no way define who she is as far as she is concerned. The famous Temple Grandin is a good example of an intellectual autistic woman.
So the Intellectual Aspergers female is most likely to stick to functional, simple clothes and usually dismisses the notion of being overtly feminine. However over time these women will usually develop a perfectly adequate dress sense from observing other females.
For the Intellectual Aspergers female life is all about intellectual fulfillment. This woman did not spend her childhood playing with Barbie’s or dreaming of a Prince Charming. Instead if she ever did entertain any fairytales it was likely to be the Princess and the Frog. Though only because she wanted to know what species of frog the prince had turned into was it likely to be a Pixie Frog or even a toad? Why? Logically it was because she wanted to research whether this frog is on the endangered species list and if so what caused its decline? Then she wants to look into the possibility of this amphibian having a significant role in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.
The Intellectual Aspergers female is never going to be found spending her precious researching time getting involved in meaningless banter about people she has no interest in. Nor is she ever worried about her make up collection being outdated or who the coolest guy in the school is. Instead this Aspergers lady will be concerned with what she sees as the real issues of life e.g. How is global warming really affecting the world’s climate? Why poverty exists in conjunction with affluent societies? What really caused the destruction of the Mayan Culture? Her areas of passion will often include the great unanswered questions of modern science or if she has a mathematical brain the buzz of actually solving an unanswerable mathematical equation.
However some but not all of these Aspergers females do tend to have a particular difficulty with abstract mathematical concepts so sometimes they are just as likely to turn to the arts to express themselves. Many Aspergers females may be exceptionally gifted at art, literature, interior design, architecture, computer programming or some other creative field.
The Domestic Queen with Aspergers Syndrome
I see them often and I will never figure them it out. The Domestic Queen i.e. someone who seems to get endlessly excited about a new pair of curtains or a new type of vacuum cleaner. I don’t know, call me autistic if you like but I am just endlessly puzzled as to how any functional domestic item can cause such passionate interest.
Another unanswered question for me is when I am out and I feel a few raindrops on my head. Suddenly all the domestically inclined Queen’s around me are instantly transformed into quivering wrecks before my eyes. Now everywhere I look I see unrestrained panic and anxiety. What is this tragedy of mammoth proportions I wonder? Is it actually raining acid? Will these mere droplets of water actually cause all these women to melt?
No I am told eventually it is because they have clothes drying on the clothes line at home and now the wet clothes will get wet from this demonic rain? Over the years I have learned through trial and error that the worst possible comment you can make at this point is, ‘but weren’t the clothes wet anyway and now won’t they just dry again?’
Sometimes though when I then go home and look at my neglected, ravaged house I do think why oh why couldn’t my area of special interest have been for house work? Then I wouldn’t ever again let it get into this state.
The Domestic Queen with Aspergers Syndrome is massively house-proud and undoubtedly her home could easily adorn the pages of any ideal homes magazine. If you are ever asked for dinner it is both an anxiety ridden experience (I might break something or dirty the tablecloth) but also a culinary delight as you will be fed with many delectable dishes.
Your Domestic Queen will shrug this banquet off easily and say something like, ‘oh do you really like my Chicken seared, organic, double tossed Mediterranean themed slowly steamed never before achieved chicken dish, ah that’s no bother I rustled that up in between polishing the buttons on every jacket in the house and making my dress for tonight.’ At that point I usually swallow a large gulp of wine, before hanging my head in shame and baulking at my own total inadequacy as a fraudulent wife, mother and totally unprofessional, incompetent house owner.
Area of Special Interest and Aspergers Syndrome
Now the Domestic Queen Aspie female is just a caricature to demonstrate that every person with Aspergers Syndrome’s has an absolute need for attention to detail and an innate unquenchable desire to excel at that one area that interests them like no other i.e. the so called area of special interest. They are then consumed and passionately driven to be perfect in this area no matter what it takes.
By no means does it necessarily have to any of the areas discussed above it could just as easily be a need to be the perfect mother, actress, singer, architect, Solicitor, Presenter, Astronomer or as above the perfect Fashion Goddess. The point I want to get across here is that people with Aspergers cannot bear to be just be okay at something they are passionate about instead they either have to do this task exceptionally well or else they will eventually have to avoid doing this task altogether.
Personally I would rather run barefoot over hot coals than spend the day cleaning my house but until such time as I make some money out of this writing lark I have no choice but to keep subjecting myself to this daily torture.
So please read my writing, follow me and help spare me many more years of this unnatural drudgery.
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Liane Halliday Willey
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Liane Halliday Willey EdD, Well known Woman with Aspergers Syndrome who also writes about AS.