(obviously autistics are uncreative, because they’re MALE and creativity is a female associated trait).
Isn’t that a little bit sexist? I’ve never noticed males being any less creative than females. There are many male artists and writers, and those things both require creativity…
Or were you saying that that’s what the stereotypes say?
Yeah I meant that was the stereotypes. IE creativity is associated with women, (except it actually is in really sexist and kind of creepy ways; which isn’t really the point of this post, but suffice it to say that association is not remotely positive.), not that there’s any actual truth to that idea, because there definitely isn’t.
[I wrote this in response to this ask on Autistic Problems asking if there is any truth to the idea that autistic people lack empathy and creativity; reposting my response here because it seems relevant.]
I’ve heard from various sources that people with autism are less creative and/or less empathic than non-autistic people. Is there any factual/statistic basis for this?
No. Those are stereotypes of autistic people. The diagnostic criteria for no autistic diagnosis requires an autistic person to be “less” creative, whatever that means in a clinical sense. “Empathy” as is used in its clinical sense is additionally problematic because it differs from the common usage of the word. Being able to decode other people’s facial expressions and emotional responses intuitively (the psychological usage of the word) is not the same thing as (and is not required for) caring about other people’s feelings. Many of the most empathetic people I know are also autistic people.
No, not really.
The empathy arguments are mostly propogated by Simon Baron-Cohen, who mostly gerrymandered to exclude autistic people. He defines empathy as “Empathy is our ability to identify what someone else is thinking or feeling and to respond to their thoughts and feelings with an appropriate emotion” [The Science of Evil, US edition, p16]
This is actually super manipulated; because it conflates both the ability to figure out what people are thinking (which is largely a learned skill) and the tendency to be emotionally effected by other people (which is what empathy is usually used to refer to.) And also by declaring the response to be an “appropriate” emotion this is subtly Othering autistic people’s senses of empathy, when we, for example, respond to someone in pain with emotional overload and desperate attempts to do anything to make their suffering stop because it’s hurting us. Or the tendency to withdraw from people in pain because it’s really uncomfortable to be around them.
This is then classified as Not Empathy because those emotions aren’t appropriate; the Appropriate response is to be nice and take care of the person and be supportive, not to be completely overwhelmed by empathy. When really, those are empathy overload (and I get them frequently; I don’t know how universal those experiences are to autistic people; many other autistic people also experience it though)
So basically, he’s manipulating the definition to create a very allistic centered concept of empathy, and then declaring that autistic people lack it or are impaired in empathy, which isn’t really a very good interpretation of the evidence and requires a really weird understanding of empathy.
As for the less creative thing, it’s pretty much entirely stereotype, and probably ties into the male-gendering of autism (obviously autistics are uncreative, because they’re MALE and creativity is a female associated trait). Some autistic people are not super creative, but that’s not really any different then most people. Personally I have an extremely hard time surpressing my constant stream of ideas. It’s actually kind of inconvenient how creative I am sometimes >.<
(This again means Simon Baron-Cohen is probably at fault. But I don’t have his book where he proposes that autism is an “extreme male brain”, but yeah, that’s also bullshit.)
[EDIT: Added in the ask and metapianycists reply now that I got permission to reblog his part of the reply]
To anyone who believes that people with Autism and other special needs “aren’t oppressed” or are “given special treatment”:
TRIGGER WARNING for abuse; ablism.