Autism/Asperger’s: Differences in Females

Here is another post I wrote several years ago and left sitting in my drafts. Re-reading it over now, I really want to update this but… it’s already SOOOO long! There are many points I have a better understanding of now and a few things that my views have changed a bit. Perhaps at some point, I may revisit it, but for now, it’s good enough. 

I also feel I should mention that I am fully aware that everything that follows is extremely self-indulgent. Consider this your warning. And also your free pass. I will not be offended in the least if you are bored to tears and bail at any point.

~

I had no idea that there even were differences between males and females with autism. It was that post on Facebook I mentioned before that I had seen which alerted me to that fact and got me thinking that maybe I am myself. When I was pestering my friend about their experiences, they sent me a chart listing some of those specific traits and, in doing my own rabid research, I came across the same one again and again.

There is a person who blogs/vlogs about having Asperger’s and made a series of videos listing the traits and how they apply to her and then another response series from one of her viewers. I don’t know why I find it interesting to hear such mundane detail about the personal lives of people I have never met or had any interactions with… but anyway, I watched the entirety of both. I think between the two of them, they may have misinterpreted a few of the trait explanations so I thought maybe I’d record some videos too… but really, who am I kidding? I’ll never get around to that. So I’m just gonna dump all that personal stuff right here instead.

This is the chart (although I made my own because the original is really blurry and had some continuity errors I felt compelled to fix – and I also feel compelled to say I couldn’t fix all the issues I have with it so that it remained close enough to the original).

traits

I’ll try not to get TOO wordy as I reflect on how I relate to these traits.
Okay, off I go:

Appearance/Personal Habits

Dresses comfortably due to sensory issues and practicality.

Right off the bat, this makes me laugh. I am the typical “jeans and t-shirt” girl and always have been. I have been told by quite a few different people, and realize myself, that I dress like a little girl. My ‘uniform’ is a pair of comfortable jeans, converse, and a printed t-shirt, often depicting a cartoon or fandom-related image. It’s easy. I don’t put much thought into choosing what I wear. Fashion is something I don’t understand. I don’t even try anymore. That takes care of the practicality side. As for sensory…  Fabric-wise, I am picky. Soft, thin cotton for the most part. (I have a huge problem with socks, as mentioned before in my Japan shopping post.) I’ve read a lot of autistic people have problems with tags in their clothes. This used to be a big issue when I was a kid – not as much now. (Tags have gotten softer, I think.) The thicker ones on the side are still bothersome. But I have much more of a problem with seams. If they are crooked at all, I am very irritated. Sometimes I can feel the stitching too. Ugh.
It should be noted, I DETEST dressing up. Hate, hate, hate.

Will not spend much time on grooming and hair. Hairstyles usually have to be ‘wash and wear’. Can be quite happy not grooming at all at times. 

This is a tough one. My hair cuts ARE wash-and-go styles. I’m quite plain and, going along with the fashion thing, I am not good at doing trendy hair dos. But the actual doing takes me a long time. I don’t know if this is an autsim thing or just a me thing, but I am SO SLOW in every task I undertake. My typical current hair routine is wash, dry, straighten which takes a long time. Or lately, I can’t be bothered to even comb it and I throw it up in a messy (wet) bun. So, I guess that counts?
Full disclosure: I don’t leave the house much and when I don’t, I don’t get dressed. Annnnnd I tend not to shower for a bit…. Yep. Gross, but true. I have a weird thing (again, just me?) where I will do something to the extreme. When I sleep for a long time, I try to sleep longer to ‘collect’ sleep. Same with staying awake, or not eating… and all other personal care rituals. It’s really weird and I don’t know why I do that, but… there ya go.
However, the “can be quite happy” not to? Uh, I actually do NOT feel happy when I’m dirty and disgusting and stinky or whatever. But that doesn’t make me stop. (Psychiatric field day, right here….)

Eccentric personality; may be reflected in appearance.

I have been told I am eccentric or strange or weird or unique, and I do realize that I have a lot of quirky differences from most people… but, since I have been thinking about this A LOT lately, I’m not sure I completely understand why. Like, I know I’m different and from a logical, intellectual standpoint, I know why. Also, I know myself, so I see how I’m different. But from another’s perspective, especially someone who doesn’t know me well or at all, I don’t get why they think that of me. I have observed that some people seem to hate me right off the bat and I’m realizing now that I’ve rationalized this to myself in a certain way that I don’t think I fully grasp. I have a way of conducting myself in public at times that rubs people the wrong way. When I was young, it was blatant and made sense for me to have issues with people not liking me, but now….? I don’t know. So I don’t think I can really attest to my own eccentricity.
As for appearance, like I said previously, I am pretty plain looking but the childish-ness of it, for someone my age, makes it unusual. Not eccentric. Not even necessarily memorable. Just slightly odd.

Is youthful for her age, in looks, behavior and tastes.

See above for deportment. I also physically look a lot younger than I am. My face is young and I’m little in stature (short still, although chubbier now). I am often mistaken for someone 10 years younger and still get ID’ed from time to time. I always have been. And I hate it. Everyone always told me “you’ll love it when you’re older”. No. I won’t. I don’t. When I was a kid, I was teeny tiny. Always the smallest in the class. My own father admitted to thinking I was actually a little person. Now, I often don’t openly tell people how old I am and keep it to myself for as long as possible. This isn’t just because of physically looking young but because of my behaviour too. If I just looked young and people found out how old I was, there would be shock and maybe even some envy. But paired with my behaviour and the things I’m into, I often feel disdain coming from other people. Judgement. A month or two ago, I might have thought I was either projecting my own feelings or being paranoid or just being silly. But now, knowing what I know about the ability for autistic people to pick up subconsciously on what others think and feel (that possible sixth sense thing)…. I think I’m right.
Behaviour-wise, I don’t know if I can accurately explain to you what I do and what it looks like. Maybe you have to see it. I guess I look like an excited teenager a lot of the time. Bouncy, hyperactive, loud, goofy, immature.  Annoying…  You get the idea? Not all of the time, of course. Only in certain situations and with certain people. But it’s uncontrollable for me. It sucks.
The interests in juvenile things just compounds the problem. I like things meant for children or teenagers. (Disney, animation, Twilight, other youth-targeted franchises, “cute” things, etc.) The good thing is that it’s not exclusively the case. I like very adult things too. I understand and enjoy complexity. I CAN conduct myself around other adults. I just don’t if I don’t have to.

Usually a little more expressive in face and gesture than male counterparts.

I’m not sure where I stand with this one. There are times where I feel that my face is expressing something, and then I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror or see a picture immediately after it was taken, and think how expressionless my face looks. Honestly, I think I’d have to ask other people what they think of me. Also, “in comparison to male counterparts”… I don’t actually know any personally to compare to.

May have androgynous traits despite an outwardly feminine appearance. Thinks of herself as half-male/half-female (well-balanced anima/animus).

I’d say not really for this one. I know of a few girls with autsim who are quite androgynous in all aspects of their being. This is not me. I am most definitely female. But I’m not “girly”. At all. I wear make up but if I could get away with not, I totally would forgo it. I feel like my face has a manly-looking quality to it so I try to look more feminine with hair and makeup. I was frequently mistaken as a boy when I was little. (Thanks, Mom, for that awesome hair cut from the time I was 4-10.) Once I developed some curves and grew boobs, that died down. But physically, I do not identify with males at all. (Oh, I do envy them quite a bit!)
On the other hand, I have much more in common with guys mentally. I still enjoy typically female things (romance, talking boys, nurturing type things, etc.) but I have typical boy traits too. Simple thinking, crudeness, interest in Sci-fi crap. I get along with boys better than girls, which is weird cause I don’t really have any guy friends. (I blame taking ECE in college and the fact that I don’t keep in touch with anyone.) Boys are easy to talk to. Girls are intimidating.

May not have a strong sense of identity, can be very chameleon-like, especially before diagnosis.

Yes, absolutely. I’ve had a very hard time lately trying to figure out “who am I”. I spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about it. I constantly question if the things I think about myself are true or if they are just things I’ve heard others say about me that I’ve adopted. I understand now why that is. It’s this whole chameleon thing that females with autism do – the thing that had left me undiagnosed and unaware, even to myself, for so long. Right from the time I was a very young girl, I have always been observing other people, evaluating what I liked or didn’t like about them, and borrowing their traits, trying them on for size and seeing if it worked for me. Then, I’d see how other people would react to my newly-found trait and re-evaluate to see if it was appreciated. And (I think I mentioned this a few years ago), I noticed I am different with different people. Different situations bring out different aspects. Different friends bring out different qualities. Sometimes, these qualities are completely at odds with each other so that I have many conflicting traits. But they are all still parts of me. This constantly changing persona has recently really bothered me. I felt like I was faking something or covering up the ‘real’ me somehow. (Or I was at least worried other people would think that.) But I am also very adamant in saying “always be yourself” and being sincere and honest in my interactions. I am just now seeing that these are two sides of the same thing. It’s not that I don’t know who I am. It just is me to adopt all these various traits so freely.
Now what I have to adjust to is not working so freaking hard to make myself more palatable for other people and just do the things that make me happiest.

Enjoys reading and films as a retreat, often Sci-fi, Fantasy, Children’s, can have favorites which are a refuge.

Yes!  I am a lazy reader and don’t read often, but when I do, it is definitely a means of escape. TV and movies, even more so. I don’t just watch for enjoyment. I feel literally transported into another world. I become the character. It’s great. Although drama can do this too of course, the best escape is into a world so different than this one. Sci-fi/fantasy is perfect for that. Children’s movies are great too because they often have that magic that this world lacks, or seeing the world through the eyes of a child is much more congruous to how I actually see the world myself.

Uses control as a stress management technique: rules, discipline, rigid in certain habits, which will contradict her seeming unconventionality.

This is another one that is funny to me. I have fallen victim to black and white thinking in regards to this many times. Before, I thought, if I wasn’t 100% like that in everything, it didn’t count. I am very much in the grey area when it comes to self-control and discipline and rules and rituals.  Yeah, I’m all over the place with my schedule but my routines themselves are rock solid and unbendable. I may wake up or go to bed or eat or shower, etc. at extremely varied points in the day, but when I do them, there are steps in each that are followed every single time. When I do my make up, for instance, I do it in the exact same order every time. I have a  ‘proper way’ to do everything from loading the dishwasher to organizing the cupboard to cleaning the bathroom and folding laundry. And rules are a big thing too. (Don’t confuse them with laws. Haha. Authority means little to me.) For example, grammar. It irks me immeasurably when grammar rules are broken. Etiquette (that makes sense to me) and societal norms are a sticky point too. Hubby always scoffs when I say I’m easy-going. I can see why since it’s mostly household stuff I get uptight about (and I live with him) or because he is the one who hears the majority of my rants about people breaking rules I feel that they shouldn’t. But I am easy-going about some things. The point is that this is exactly why I do have rigidity in my thinking – to exercise control in my world as a way to reduce stress.

Usually happiest at home or in other controlled environment.

Duh. From an autistic point of view, this is vital. Your home is the only place you can have control over most sensory things. The temperature, light, sounds, smells, etc. can all be set how you want them. You can tell anyone else who is present to stop doing what they are doing if they bother you somehow without feeling bad about it. When you leave to go elsewhere, you are at the mercy of the rest of the world. It’s not so bad for me that I don’t like to leave the house at all but I enjoy myself much more when it’s only occasionally. My house has all the things I want and need and there are no expectations of me.

Intellectual/Giftedness/Education/Vocation

May have been diagnosed as autistic or Asperger’s when young, or may have been thought of as gifted, shy, sensitive, etc. May also have had obvious or severe learning deficits.

Obviously not diagnosed as a child. My mom always knew there was ‘something’ going on with me. She thought it was just academic. I was tested for learning disabilities and ADD. I was clearly smart and “not working up to my potential”. But when I went to her with my concerns, in tears, saying “I need help” (meaning mentally), I was pretty much just brushed aside. I self-diagnosed as depressed very early on in adolescence. Even after starting medication for it as a young adult and talking to professionals, I was told even my depression was not severe enough for an actual diagnosis because I couldn’t accurately communicate what I was feeling. Autism/Asperger’s was never even considered. I knew there was something more but have always felt trapped inside myself with no way of letting anyone else see it. I even considered the possibility that I had my very own syndrome and a psychologist would find fame and fortune if they just made the effort to get in there. Now that I understand what autism actually is (rather than the meagre education I received about it or the depictions of it in the media), it’s like I finally have an answer to every question I ever asked. 🙂

Often musical, artistic.

A little musical, a little artistic.
I love music. I love how it thrills me and touches me. I not only love listening to it but I love to make music, either by singing or with instruments. I am not exceptionally skilled, but I love it anyway.
I also love art. I love experiencing it. I love creating it. Again, not overly good at it, but find it very enjoyable.

May have a savant skill or strong talent(s).

Unfortunately not. 😦  I have slight talents in a few things but am no better at anything than most people. I’m very jealous of people who are.

May have strong interest in computers, games, science, graphic design, inventing, things of a technological and visual nature. More verbal thinkers may gravitate to writing, languages, cultural studies, psychology.

I like computers and science and stuff like that and have an appreciation for technology but not to any degree where I have wanted to pursue any of it. I do love to write. I have written a bunch of things on that topic on my blog already. I love putting words together in just the right way. I also love languages. Obviously. Written on my blog about that too. Also love cultural studies. Duh. And I’m fascinated by pyschology. Probably mentioned that a time or two as well. (Hahaha. The more I think about answering this, the more amusing it is to me.) I could have made any of those my main interest and found a career out of one of them. It just seems like so much work to formalize it though. I’d rather just dabble at my leisure.
The part that tripped me up with this point was the “verbal thinkers” thing. Temple Grandin outlined her ‘3 Types of Thinkers‘ theory and said people could be a mix of them. Visual, Verbal, and I forget. I think I’m both visual and verbal in my thinking and more one than the other at various times. I would more likely call myself an associative thinker though. I understand the world by relating things to other things I already know, whether the association is clear or not. Tangent…. Anyway, I was stuck on that because I wasn’t overly interested in any of the ‘visual thinker interests’ and I find that weird.

May be a self-taught reader, been hyperlexic as a child, and will possess a wide variety of other self-taught skills as well.

Nope. As far as I know, I learned to read at school with everyone else. I liked listening to stories and had a good vocabulary before school but nothing out of the ordinary, I don’t think.
I think most of my skills are self-taught, or at least I sought out someone to teach me what I wanted to learn and then supplemented that training with my own research for improvements, but nothing really to note. For instance, all the computer programs I use, I taught myself by playing around or trial and error but I’m no whiz. I can’t really think of anything else.

May be highly educated but will have had to struggle with social aspects of college. May have one or many partial degrees.

I am not highly educated because I gave up too easily. University was hard. It was too daunting and executive dysfunction got in my way. College was easier because the time frame was shorter and I think it’s aimed more at people who need more direction, like me. I don’t believe the social aspects played much of a role in my quitting. I have started several different times for different things though…

Can be very passionate about a course of study or job, and then change direction or go completely cold on it very quickly.

Related to the last point, my interests come and go pretty quickly and don’t generally last long enough for me to realistically pursue. Or I find aspects of something interesting but then don’t pursue it because I start thinking of all the additional aspects that go along with it that would not be enjoyable.
For personal interests (not school or job related), I pick up and drop things almost too quickly to notice them. I even have trouble reading a whole book before I get bored and want to move on.

Will often have trouble holding onto a job and may find employment daunting.

Bane of my existence. I’ve only ever had one long-term job. That was a long time ago. Everything since then had either been contract based so that it was short term in nature or I quit after a short time. I’ve never been fired (yet) but have trouble sticking with a job because, due to the anxiety it creates, I feel the need to leave. My last job, I quit the first day. My current job, I want to quit as soon as I have another option ready. I was unemployed for 3 years because I found the whole idea of trying to get a job overwhelming and nauseating.

Highly intelligent, yet sometimes can be slow to comprehend due to sensory and cognitive processing issues.

It will take me a moment or two to comprehend what someone has said to me, even in the best of times. When it’s noisy or I’m distracted for some other reason, it can be very difficult to understand what is being said. I think I do an okay job of getting the gist of something and inferring the rest or just making it look like I understand so that people don’t notice. But I hate looking stupid because I need something repeated multiple times because I either didn’t catch what was said or I couldn’t hold the information and forgot it. If something is multiple steps, I need to break them all down one at a time and mull them over to comprehend it all.

Will not do well with verbal instructions—needs to write down or draw diagram.

Completely suck with verbal instruction. Written helps if I have the time to dissect it the way I need to or given with specific detailing. But the best way is through demonstration/observation.

Will have obsessions but they are not as unusual as her male counterpart’s (less likely to be a ‘train-spotter’.

I definitely have my obsessions (Japan/Twilight) but I don’t think they are that unusual.

Emotional/Physical

Emotionally immature and emotionally sensitive.

Uhhh… extremely? Haha. I think I’d probably have to get an objective party to weigh in on the maturity part. My emotional responses are pretty basic and I don’t have a lot of control to how I react to both outside emotional stimuli and internal fluctuations. I’m not very adept at pinpointing what incidents have prompted an emotional response or even what it is that I’m feeling. When I’m upset by something, I seem to lose control over my external reactions and often appear like I’ve regressed to adolescence in my behaviour. I’m very sensitive in general but emotionally, that manifests in two ways. I get hurt quite easily. If I feel like I’ve been slighted, I take it hard and dwell on it. I feel the need for reassurance a lot but, with life experience, I’ve learned that seeking that out too often is off-putting to others. I internalize it and try to work through it on my own as much as possible. I’m also sensitive to the “vibes”, I guess you might say, that other people give off or that I witness. I may not consciously comprehend it but if someone around me is upset, it puts me on edge. It doesn’t matter if it’s reality or TV. I absolutely hate the fact that if someone is crying, I will cry too, no matter how I feel.

Anxiety and fear are the predominant emotions.

I’m not sure I like how this one is worded. I obviously have a far greater range than feeling mostly just anxiety and fear. I do feel anxious frequently, and at seemingly mundane things sometimes. I wouldn’t say I deal with a lot of fear more than most people. Anxiety is just low grade fear though, isn’t it?
I definitely don’t like being scared for entertainment. I don’t find that enjoyable the way some people do.

More open to talking about feelings and emotional issues than males with AS.

I would probably say that I do enjoy discussing feelings, especially in an abstract sense, but I find it very difficult to speak about my own emotions when I’m upset. I’m willing, just unable.

Strong sensory issues—sounds, sights, smells, touch, and prone to overload. (Less likely to have taste/food texture issues as males.)

I think I covered this rather extensively already. It would take a lifetime to itemize every single sensory issue I have. Suffice it to say, a resounding yes. I am realizing now how much my problems with external sensitivity impact my life. The three biggest problems for me are smell, temperature, and light.

Moody and prone to bouts of depression. May have been diagnosed as bipolar or manic depressive (common comorbids of Autism/AS) while the AS diagnosis was missed.

As I stated before, I self-diagnosed as depressed when I was in my mid-teens but didn’t get any professional help with it until I was on my own as an adult. (The perks of being in charge of your own welfare.) No two doctors ever agreed on a diagnosis. I think that I can appear “normal” and have had to for so long that I didn’t even realize it was an act that hindered me in getting the assistance I was seeking. The possibility that I might be bipolar was suggested by a few people over time but nothing ever came of it. I wasn’t extreme enough to qualify for that diagnosis. Not one person ever suggested autism.

Probably given several different prescriptions to treat symptoms. Will be very sensitive to medications and anything else she puts in her body so may have had adverse reactions.

I was on various combinations of anti-depressants, sleeping aids and “uppers” for a period of about 10 years, but weaned myself off all medication (doctor supervised) back in 2010 when my husband and I were considering having a baby.
My body is sensitive to medications and I usually have to reduce the strength. I inevitably feel worse off while taking round of antibiotics. The side effects are… not fun.
I did the whole ‘exercising my new freedoms’ thing when I was first living on my own and I seemed to have a normal reaction to it but I’ve realized now I do NOT handle alcohol or drugs well. At all.

9 out of 10 have mild to severe gastro-intestinal difficulties—eg. ulcers, acid reflux, IBS, etc.

I laughed out loud when I read this one. I’ve had “stomach issues” since I was young. I had no idea this was related. I thought I was just lucky. :/

Stims to soothe when sad or agitated; rocking, face-rubbing, humming, finger flicking, leg bouncing, finger or foot tapping, etc.

I don’t think I stim any more that neurotypical people do. (Yes, everyone does it.) I do find certain fidgety things relaxing and am sometimes completely captivated by complex patterns. I found out through researching that the reason autistic people might rock or flap, etc. is the need to stimulate the vestibular or tactile senses due to being hyposensitive and are under stimulated. I am pretty sure I am hypersensitive to movement. I hate any and all forms of extreme movement. If my feet are not firmly planted and am upright, I am not happy. I detest rollercoasters. I’m not a fan of trampolines or those bouncy castle things. I am unnerved during airplane turbulence. I had a complete meltdown on a gondola in Banff last year. Horribly embarrassing. I’m also annoyed by other people’s constant repetitive movements in my vicinity. I can feel the vibration and hear the sound it makes. So with all that, it would make sense for me to do the opposite of movement stimming. When I am agitated, I prefer absolute stillness. I move as much as it takes to keep breathing. It makes sense in those terms. I shut out all vestibular stimuli and I feel better. In the midst of a shutdown, I often find that I can’t move or at least find it very difficult.

Similarly physical when happy; hand flapping, clapping, singing, jumping, running around, dancing, bouncing, etc.

Hmm. I’ll have to take note of what my natural physical reaction is next time I’m happy or excited. I don’t think I do anything in particular that stands out.

Prone to temper or crying meltdowns, even in public, sometimes over seemingly small things due to sensory or emotional overload.

I mentioned it before but I don’t have meltdowns often and when I do, temper doesn’t seem to be present. They aren’t angry, yelling, violent, loud tantrums that draw a lot of attention. When I do have a meltdown in public, I would think from a stranger’s view, I just look like someone who is visibly upset. Mostly it’s just crying. It’s a big deal only to me and my husband rather than anyone else. If you asked my husband, he’d say they are “over nothing” and come out of nowhere. Shutdown though, as I said, is much more common. That happens regularly. I do know that I’m much more prone to these things when I feel overwhelmed.

Hates injustice and hates to be misunderstood; this can incite anger and rage.

This was a tough one to process. I was originally thinking about social injustice or something along those lines. Those videos are not fresh in my mind now but that was probably where both of those girls had gone. I don’t really pay attention to social issues and I don’t get involved with “causes”. I might have opinions about things I regard as cruelty towards other people or things of that nature but I don’t generally think about it for too long. I will hold a grudge against people for things I perceive as slights against myself or a friend (usually much longer than the friend does personally). I am oddly annoyed by people who break the “rules” though – and by that I mean more my own rules I have based on standards. It’s more about the way I think people should be. I can go off on long rants about that. I get the impression that other people think I’m overreacting at those times.
I do hate being misunderstood, which is a lot of the time. It’s difficult operating on a slightly different plane than everyone else.

Prone to mutism when stressed or upset, especially after a meltdown. Less likely to stutter than male counterparts but may have a raspy voice, monotone at times, when stressed or sad.

I am physically unable to speak during a shutdown. I covered that already. But even without a complete shutdown, I do have issues with mutism when I upset. I feel a constriction in my throat and a panicky feeling. If I’m forced to speak, I inevitably cry so I avoid it as much as possible. Many fights have started because my husband didn’t understand that I couldn’t speak.
I don’t stutter in the traditional sense. I trip over my words and stop and start a lot though. It’s something I’m self-conscious about. It’s worse when I’m trying to talk to someone I don’t know or someone I’m intimidated by but it happens with everyone, no matter how comfortable I am with them. I’m MUCH more confident with written communication.
My voice isn’t raspy but it is definitely monotone. I have “resting bitch voice”. I can fake the normal inflection but it’s a conscious decision. I have what my nephew pointed out as a ‘polite voice’ I use for speaking to people I need something from, like when ordering food or that type of thing. My normal voice is deeper than I wish it was. I think I can sound quite manly sometimes. Unfortunately, it’s not just when I’m stressed. It’s all the time. I can just fake it better when I’m not too tired.

Social/Relationships

Words and actions are often misunderstood by others.

Always. *sigh*   Not only the thing I posted about before with people not understanding what I say, which is baffling to me, but there have been a lot of mix ups with people not understanding my intentions towards them. I’ve been told many times that people thought I was a bitch or snobby when they first met me. I’ve been told I look angry. Conversely, I have a lot of people having random conversations with me as if I’m putting some vibe out there that I’m open to conversation with passing strangers. So not the case! It’s actually something I wish I could avoid. It’s so weird. Even when I’m out with other people, I’m the one who is singled out when the little old man wants to talk to someone. I wish I could turn off whatever that beacon that draw them to me is.

Perceived to be cold-natured and self-centered; unfriendly.

See above for the bitch thing. I think to a certain extent, I AM cold-natured. I have what I consider circumstantial compassion. At times, I’m very compassionate and understanding. But I also don’t really care that deeply about the majority of other people. People in general are tedious and stupid. Haha. That sounds worse than the reality. There’s no great way to explain that.
I am admittedly quite self-centered. I ponder the hows and whys of human nature and since I’m me and have firsthand knowledge of my thought processing, of course I’m my favourite subject. It could probably be classified as an obsession.
So I don’t really know how much of this is perception or actual reality. It’s conflicting because at times, I’m the exact opposite. Very warm, open, and caring.

Is very outspoken at times, may get fired up when talking about passions/obsessive interests.

When I tell people I’m shy, they laugh. I speak out a lot, whether I want to or not. It feels like Tourette’s sometimes. With my friends, I can be loud and goofy. This adds to the idea that people who I am not acquainted with yet think I’m a bitch. I won’t talk to anyone else in a social function except for the people I already know.
If someone shows even the slightest interest in one of my personal interests (sometimes even when they don’t but if I’m particularly excited about something), I will spout of information like an encyclopedia. It’s hard to stop. I wish I had more people I could discuss these things with. What is even better than having a captive audience though, is being able to talk with someone who matches my interest or knows just as much or more than I do.

Can be very shy or mute.

Haha. I just mentioned being shy. I don’t like talking to people I don’t know. I get very nervous in social situations. I’m always worried about saying something stupid. Isn’t that what being shy is?

Like her male counterpart, will shut down in social situations once overloaded, but is generally better at socializing in small doses. May even give the appearance of skilled, but it is a ‘performance’.

I love hanging out with friends but I always prefer small groups. Even if I have fun, I need recuperation time. I absolutely hate structured social events and don’t enjoy large parties. I intensely dislike small talk and it takes a lot out of me to do it.

Doesn’t go out much. Will prefer to go out with partner only or children if she has them.

I hardly ever go out. I spend most of my time at home. Now that I’m working again, even though it’s only three times a week, that takes away from my ability to go out on my days off because I need to recover from that. I do like spending time with other people that I like from time to time but with my husband, I don’t have to perform, so I prefer to spend my time with him. Or at least with him tagging along with other people. He’s like a security blanket. There have been many invitations I’ve turned down because he didn’t want to come with me.

Will not have many girlfriends and will not do ‘girly’ things like shopping with them or have get-togethers to ‘hang out’.

This one is not really true for me. I do have a few close female friends that I enjoy hanging out with. ‘Hanging out’ is one of my favourite ways to spend time with others. I get to be lazy with company. Works for me. I do hate shopping though. Hate. It. Only do it when I have to and for the most part, unless I need an objective set of eyes, prefer to shop alone.

Will have a close friend or friends in high school, but not once adulthood is reached.

This is ridiculous. Of course I have close friends in adulthood. My husband is my best friend. That said though, apart from him and two friends I’ve had for years but don’t see often, my friendships don’t seem to last more than a few years. I find the upkeep difficult. Part of that self-centered thing. My two long lasting friendships work for me because we only see each other a couple of times a year and don’t talk very often.

May or may not want to have a relationship. If she is in a relationship, she probably takes it very seriously but she may choose to remain celibate or alone.

My husband and I are very close and I rely on him for everything. I take it extremely seriously. There are times though when I miss being alone. I have a lot of preferences that are difficult to reconcile with living with another person but I’d rather put up with the inconvenience than be without him. If I weren’t with him specifically, I would choose to be alone.

Due to sensory issues, will either really enjoy sex or strongly dislike it.

Um… both? Dependent on my mood. And certain aspects, both at the same time. That said, I don’t have sex often. Hardly at all, actually.

If she likes a male, she can be extremely, noticeably awkward in her attempts to let him know—eg. She may stare when she sees him or call him repeatedly. This is because she fixates and doesn’t understand societal gender roles. This will change with maturity.

I did some pretty odd things when I liked guys when I was younger. Mostly, I would “stalk” them but never talk to them. I wouldn’t really ever ‘let them know’. I was too scared of boys to attempt a relationship. I definitely fixated though. I was sort of obsessed with one guy in particular for about three years. I didn’t call him (much) but I did write him letters. I was also very confused about what actual boy/girl relationships entailed too. It was way beyond my level at that time. All I know is that I wanted the title of having a boyfriend but in hindsight, wanted nothing to do with anything else a relationship called for.

Often prefers the company of animals but not always due to sensory issues.

This one is another one I’ve struggled with. I hear a lot about autistic people loving animals. It makes sense too. They can’t relate well to people because of the societal conventions but connect with animals on that basic soul-to-soul level since that pressure is off. I’ve never been particularly fond of animals. I’m pretty afraid of them actually. I’ve often thought that something essential is missing from my DNA. I don’t hate animals, by any means, but I don’t really like them. The more I think about it, the more I think it is a sensory thing at the core of it. I definitely hate it when they touch me. I feel disgusting and dirty after I’ve pet a dog or cat and I can’t stand their fur being on me or my clothes. And they smell really bad. Without those social constructs we have with people, you never know how an animal is going to approach you. They may touch you without your permission. They stare at you and invade your space that way. Basically they do whatever they want, whether you like it or not.

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2 Responses to Autism/Asperger’s: Differences in Females

  1. Pingback: Little Autism Oddities | blah blah blah

  2. eric says:

    thank you for sharing your experiences. i discovered this research today and went down a rabbit hole reading the journals. I wrote scientific american a short “how could you” for iresponsible journalism. A lot of the research was somewhat biased to female participants, but ignoring that, it only says “women are more likely” and in no way acknowledges that a very high percentage of men also had these differences and experiences. If we all dont acknowledge that there were still 30% of young boys falling into these categories, they wont get help or be recognized for who they are.

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