Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Thanks to Feminism

I've been struggling somewhat in my Women and Gender Studies (WGST) class. Given the current state of women's rights, and the current state of autistic rights, sexism for me is far overshadowed by disability discrimination. I really can't name much in my life that I think would have been different if I'd been an autistic boy instead of an autistic girl. The discrimination I've faced has been pretty much the same as what the boys deal with.
But it just occurred to me that although (or because) sexism hasn't made much of a difference in my life, feminism has. In fact, as an autistic woman, I've benefited more from feminism than most women do.
Here's why:
  • I love to read and write. For a long time, only men were taught those skills. As an autistic person, although I have generalized verbal strengths, my written language is better than my spoken language.
  • University is my niche. In university, high intellengence and passionate interests are rewarded, making it an area where being autistic can actually be an asset. However, universities were originally male-only, and there have been many barriers to women participating.
  • I'm no good at housework. I get overloaded easily when trying to clean, my OCD tendencies make me have panic attacks at the thought of cleaning up certain kinds of messes, my difficulty planning means I put things off a lot, and my asthma means that getting close to dust and mold can be bad for me. Nowadays, I have other areas in which I can show my competence, and I stand a chance of finding a man who is willing to do housework. I will not be seen as a failure just because I can't do housework.
  • I'm asexual. Although I haven't decided what I'll do with my life, since I do want children and my sexuality might awaken in the future, it's quite possible that I will never want to get married. It used to be that most unmarried women either depended on family or lived in poverty, with many being forced into prostitution to survive. Now, women can get into lucrative careers, and many single women are doing just fine.

So I extend a thanks to all the women from previous generations who fought for these rights I take for granted. You made my dreams possible.