I have noticed there has been an increase to activity on a post I made last year about Autism Moms™ and the way they use that “term” like a badge of honour.
I am also noticing an influx of Autism Moms™ right here on this page. But don’t be scared my dear followers. Just don’t make eye contact and you should be ok. 😉
I understand why they are angry. It’s the same reason they use the term Autism Mom™ in the first place. They want recognition for all the hard work they do and feel it’s their reward and their right to use it.
So rather than reply directly to their pages because I know they wont listen and there is soooo many of them, I thought I’ll write a blog post. The Autism Moms™ often will say the same thing over and over too, (at least they are consistent!) so I can just reuse this explanation when needed.
There is so much more I want to say, because I believe the problem here is much deeper, but that will be saved for future posts.
I see this often written by Autism Moms™:
“Why is it such a source of controversy?”
I’m glad you asked! Allow me to explain.
I have copied and pasted some of my favourite quotes from either the Autism Mom™ pages or the comments made by Autism Moms™. I haven’t added the source as it’s not appropriate at this time. My purpose isn’t to shame people. I may call out people directly on their Bullshit on occasions but this is different. This is a reply, not aimed at one person in particular.
“Why do some people feel it is perfectly ok to disrespect my choices about myself and my role as a parent?”
This isn’t about your parenting. This has nothing to do WITH parenting. And this is exactly why I’m writing this because you clearly are not understanding why I’m making a point of this.
Yes, you are a parent. But it’s not about parent-ing.
“Blue eyes or black hair are not necessarily going to change my parenting journey. My child’s neurology DRASTICALLY changes who I am as a parent. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING about raising my child is anything like what I once imagined, or in any way the same as how I raised and am raising his siblings. EVERYTHING about who I am, as a parent, is different because of autism.”
This makes me sad to hear. Autism is part of your child, it’s not this separate entity that “effects” you. This is the kind of language that damages autistic children’s self worth.
You’re basically saying here, “If it wasn’t for Autism, our life would be easier/different.”
Black hair isn’t a disability. This again is another example of how you aren’t understanding what autism actually is. It’s not a look. A thing. Something you are “touched by.” It’s an integral part of who we are.
And no, your child’s neurology doesn’t change YOUR identity. This isn’t about YOU. Your parenting STYLE will have to change and adjust, but that’s not just for autistic children.
I don’t know how to say this nicely… THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU.
“My own mind is completely open. My heart is open.”
I’m sorry. I don’t believe it is. Many autistic people, are saying to you, that is not ok. But you dismiss it and think we’re “offended” and getting upset over trivial things.
“I respect the next person’s need to call themselves by a name they are comfortable with. Those people don’t have to live with me. They don’t have to call themselves WHAT I SAY.”
Oh honey.. You’re not getting it, are you? This isn’t YOUR word to use. There is NO other disability or illness/condition where parents co-opt their child’s identity. (I have seen it used in some occasions but no where near as prevalent as this.) Doesn’t that tell you something?
(To make it clear, autism is not an illness or condition, I’m using this as an example)
If you called yourself that in your own home, I wouldn’t have heard it. But ya’ll keeping making memes with the term and making hashtags. You’re shoving it in my face! So therefore I get to say what I think because what you do affects me and *my* children and people in the autistic community.
This language contributes to the amount of autistic people feeling like a burden. This is harming autistic people.
“So why am I not given the same acceptance? It seems unfair.”
Same acceptance? You want autistic people to give you acceptance for taking their identity on as yours? This is like asking why there is no White History Month.
You are not part of a marginalised group. You already have acceptance. It’s not your fault. You hold privilege. But now that you know better, do better.
I just don’t understand why so many people waste so much time and energy being offended!
I cringe at that word “offended” because yes, I am offended but I don’t think you understand the magnitude. My knickers aren’t in a twist. I am outraged. The use of this word is again, dismissive and silences autistic people.
“Autism Mom™” is not for you to use to gain recognition for your “achievements” or “hard work”.
And yes, you’re right. YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. So listen. Sit down and listen to autistic people.
So many of you keep saying, “I don’t get this. I don’t understand.” and then insert jokes in afterwards how we are being petty and irrational. So why don’t you listen?
Because you don’t actually want to. You’d have to admit you fucked up. And that my friend, takes courage to step outside of your comfort zone.
“I am THE ONLY AUTHORITY over what I want to call myself. If what I choose to call myself is so profoundly offensive to you, I can only presume it is because you have CHOSEN to be offended by it.”
Yay! Something we can agree on. Well that first sentence. I believe in free will. You have the right to call yourself WHATEVER you like. Seriously. I mean that. That’s what I’m allllllll about. See?
Quotes above say:
I do this thing called whatever the fuck I want.
Be who you are. Not who the world wants you to be.
Be you. Everyone else is taken.
I’m a big fan of people being exactly who they are.
BUT, by ignoring the people who you claim to support, how they feel about you co-opting their identity, shows you are not genuine supporting autism and autistic people. You have basically said, “I’m going to do what I want and support autism how I want, because it’s what I want!!!”
How is this supporting autistic people exactly….? By telling us what we need, what is good for us?
The rest of this paragraph disturbs me. Particularly this bit: “Because you have CHOSEN to be offended by it.”
I am beyond offended. I am outraged (as mentioned). And even if I was offended and hurt, you don’t choose to be offended. That is gaslighting.
However, what you choose to do with the hurt and outrage, is a choice. I could ignore it. But I am afflicted with this “condition” that makes me unable to tolerate bullshit so I have chosen to speak up. When I ignore the need to speak up, I literally become ill. So you don’t want me to be sick, now do you?
“The argument has always seemed odd to me. They say they are trying to protect rights, identities, and how people view each other- yet they are casting direct judgement on how I view myself.”
I know, right? That’s called “privilege”. Because you aren’t autistic and therefore have never experienced discrimination. So listen to us.
And sorry, this isn’t judgement without cause. I judge you because you hear us say this is not OK, and then you do it anyway.
“My response is, you are free to feel your way, and I am free to disagree. I teach my children that not everything in life is going to be to their liking and they have to find a way to peacefully cope with those challenges. We all do.”
Yes, you are free to disagree. You have free will – as I mentioned above. But it seems like what you are teaching your child is that they have to put up with something that hurts them.
Don’t you want your child to speak out against discrimination? Ableism? Homophobia?
And you all call yourselves warriors and advocates. So if you are a warrior and advocate, by definition you must be standing up for something, against what others say?
But it seems to me right now that the only people you are fighting against are #actuallyautistic people.
“What I choose to call MYself bears absolutely no malice toward what another person calls him or herself.”
I believe that. I believe that AT FIRST. But then when you find out the people from a marginalised group are hurt by the use of this term and you continue to use it… then well. That makes you can asshole.
“I mean no harm. In this age of abbreviated EVERYTHING, “autism mom” is just shorter and easier to say than “mother of an autistic person”.”
In this age of abbreviated EVERYTHING? Sure. But sometimes the abbreviations cross the line, sometimes unintentionally. An example:
Kylie Jenner and makeup. (Yes, the Kardashian family. I cringe at the fact I’m saying the K word in my blog *cries* but it’s a great example. I promise it will be over in a minute.)
Her make up was such a hit that she announced herself King and released a whole line of makeup, used the “K” theme and called it “King Kylie Collection”. See below image from Instagram:
What does it stand for? KKK.
Important note: The atrocities that happened to people of colour (and still happening) and what is happening to autistic people is in NO WAY COMPARABLE. I am using this literally, as an example of language ONLY of when abbreviations turning into something really terrible by accident.
This caused a backlash on social media and it didn’t take long (because people stood up and said this was not ok) it was changed. I doubt she was happy because EVERYTHING in their lives is about the letter K.
So please don’t give me that crap about everything is abbreviated. That doesn’t excuse anything once you know how the marginalised group feel. To be a true ally, if you make a mistake and you are called out, you apologise and DO BETTER.
This explanation is only valid ONCE. It’s not an excuse.
“My daughter is a dancer, so I’m also a dance mom. My oldest son is gay. Wanna call me a gay mom? Works for me!”
Errr…. Gross. I can’t respond to this right now. I can’t even.
“Having to advocate for my son is a HUGE part of my identity. Autism is a HUGE part of my life. And nope, I’m not an autistic mom, just an autism mom.”
I advocate too. And yes advocating can be part of your identity. So call yourself an Advocate Mum. Autism is part of your life but it does not compare to lived experience. You might think you know everything about it but you don’t. Unless you are actually autistic, you have no right.
“What I call myself takes nothing away from my son. It takes nothing away from anyone.”
and from the same person,
“I’m not taking anything away by claiming his sons neurology as part of who I am.”
I see this all the time. ALL. THE. TIME.
That is *your* opinion. But the opinion of autistic people, the group who you say you support, say you are taking. And by definition, when you take, you subtract. You remove. Honestly, how is this ok with you?
If a friend tells you that you hurt them by making a comment, you would listen right? Because you care for them and RESPECT them. And that’s my point.
I don’t think you truly respect autistic people. How can you say your “fight for Autism” when the people who you say you represent despise this term?
Back to the hypothetical conversation with your friend, even IF her reason for being hurt didn’t make sense to you, because you want to continue a relationship with her, you would still say sorry, and change.
Therefor, if you really valued autistic people, you wouldn’t dismiss us.
It really is that simple. You would respect us and not say “I hope my child doesn’t grow up like them!” because *are* like your child.
When your child gets older and joins our community and speaks up for his rights, imagine him being silenced and told to calm down and stop arguing over “semantics”? Don’t be that person.
I shouldn’t HAVE TO explain myself to all your comments. But I am, because my goal here is CHANGE. I hope, that some of you, will actually stop and listen.
So stop and wonder why “all these autistic people” are so angry.
Stop and think maybe there is something more to this.
Stop, ask and listen.
❤ The Bullshit Fairy
FYI: I offer a service on my Facebook Page – The Bullshit Fairy, where you can send a PM with a question, I will anonymously post it to the page and autistic people will give you honest, no bullshit questions. This is only for the brave though.