Hoist With Her Own Petard

I once hitchhiked with a woman working with the mentally handicapped and asked her what was the opposite of an autist. She replied, “A woman.” She went on to explain, as if reciting the most uncontroversial possible fact, that autists can be described in terms of the extreme version of the masculine mind: that is, very concerned with numbers and things, and not at all concerned with other people.

Elsewhere, however, I had read that autists also tended to take everything literally, cared nothing for appearances and were unable to lie. So if a woman were indeed the opposite of an autist, I asked, must not this mean that she saw hidden meanings in everything, was obsessed with appearances and was a compulsive liar? Some of us had certainly thought so.

I doubt that this was precisely what the female worker with the mentally handicapped had in mind. She probably thought that my spotting the backfire implication of her own doctrine made me an autist myself, or at least an Aspie, and who knows, perhaps she was right.

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  1. Written by urban
    on August 5, 2013 at 18:41

    Fascinating that she’d rather shoe-horn non-self-beings into her conceptual model than address the complexity of real human others. Fits nicely with your translation of the word “relationship” into English from femspeak. She lives for others. One can always spot the others by the hunted look in their eyes. (Pardon my passing back a paraphrase of a quotation that neither of us can cite a source for. It fits here, I’ll own.)

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