Sunday, January 13, 2013

Alexis Wineman: A bitter irony?

Though Alexis Wineman didn't reign victorious in last night's Miss America competition, the comely 18-year-old's story gained a lot of media traction in recent days.  This is because she has a form of autism diagnosed at age 11.  She overcame obstacles to become Miss  Montana and the youngest competitor for the 2013 Miss America crown.  

 A girl whose autism probably would not have fulfilled the criteria for a diagnosis less than twenty or even ten years ago and may lose her diagnosis when the DSM-V shortly comes out is a beauty queen.  I wonder if anyone else besides me sees an irony in this story. 

As an almost always celibate male on the spectrum at the advanced age of 57, I took interest in Ms. Wineman's platform with the tired cliche about normal being a setter on a dryer.  Also, I was piqued by her statement that since autism is not a sickness so it can't be cured autistics can be helped to achieve their full potential.

I wonder if Alexis would like to help out some lonely celibate autistic male achieve his full potential by dating him.  I suspect the answer is no.

One of the tired and pat solutions I hear for our celibacy by those averse to "mixed marriages" is that we should find an autistic girlfriend.  This begs the question as I believe most studies that have explored the question have found an approximately 10:1 ratio of autistic males to females, at least at the higher functioning end.

Neurodiversity proponents have repeatedly dismissed the validity of these findings, claiming that the prevalence of female autism is underestimated.  In spite of the fact they never seem to present any actually published findings documenting this, they claim we have nothing to worry about.  The hidden horde of female autistics who will decelibitize us is out there if we look hard enough.

I do realize there are autistic females out there and most of them are neither national beauty pageant competitors nor exactly resemble matinee idols.  I still don't think this solution is feasible.

My friend, Jerry Newport, wrote a rather interesting essay  detailing the reasons why this is not workable.
The media does not seem to care about the celibacy of many of us.  Alexis' story is far sexier than ours.  Of course we get to hear about married males on the spectrum such as John Robison, Steve Shore and Tim Page, while those of us lower functioning then these august individuals languish in obscurity.

I wonder if anyone else sees the irony in this that I do.  I reckon not. 

11 comments:

leventa2 said...

LOL It's just about getting some beautiful girl with Autism to embrace the NT superficiality of a beauty pageant. No diversity in thinking here.

Jake Crosby said...

Jonathan...I think you're misusing the term "celibacy." Being celibate is deliberately abstaining from sex, normally as a requirement to join the catholic priesthood. I don't think it means what you think it means. Perhaps the term you are looking for is virginity?

As for the 10:1 male-female ratio among higher-functioning autistics, I suspect it has something to do with the interaction between individual susceptibility and environmental assault interaction. The higher functioning you are, the bigger the role individual susceptibility plays. The lower functioning you are, the greater the role environmental assault (i.e. vaccination, thimerosal etc.) plays. So as the brain damage goes up, the gender gap narrows.

jonathan said...

I'm not sure of the exact definition, but I took it to mean being without actual sex, whether voluntary or not being able to find a partner, but technically you might be correct, i'm not sure, but the exact definition is not relevant. Virginity is never having sex ever. You could lose virginity then not have sex again for several years.

Anonymous said...

"The media does not seem to care about the celibacy of many of us."

The media *does* seem to care more about *rape* these days.

When no one's actually willing to have sex with a person, there's only 2 possibilities for that person:
a) not have sex with anyone else
b) have sex with someone against her or his will (a.k.a. rape someone).

These days the media's gradually becoming more in favor of possibility a) above, *as it should be.*

After all, being raped hurts so much worse than not having sex when one does want to have sex...

Meanwhile, the more difficult it is to rape and the more difficult it is to get away with rape, the less available possibility b) above is.

That's why those high rates of involuntary celibacy are actually an excellent thing. It means those celibate are doing a) instead of b), and means they aren't hurting other people by raping them.

Anonymous said...

"My friend, Jerry Newport, wrote a rather interesting essay detailing the reasons why this is not workable."

...and think about how much worse it would be if women who found those men unattractive were still forced to marry them anyway in arranged marriages...

Here are some more links about why getting people married that way (even though it does take social skills out of getting married and therefore) is horrible too:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11613992
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/bradford/8375456.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4738379.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1209099.stm
http://www.karmanirvana.org.uk/

Roger Kulp said...

I am just a few years younger than you are,and I'm a virgin.Of course I didn't even start shaving until 2009,when I started on the leucovorin,sex is just something I never had any desire or urges for. Lack of folate can do that to you.I am the complete opposite of what those quacks the Geiers claimed about autism and testosterone.

I have studied the literature enough to know,that the increase in autism since the DSM-IV is all across the spectrum.What made me angry about the DSM-V,was there were so many important behavioral and developmental problems they left out.They had a chance to fix it,and they blew it.Alexis Wineman is the future of autism as society sees it,like it or not.

Nobody is interested lower functioning autistics,not even the APA.There is a movement out there,to rebrand autism as a positive thing,with just a few social deficits.It's all about being a nerd,not struggling with multiple,profound learning disabilities,like I did.Autism is glamorous and chic.If you don't fit that,you will be ignored,which is why it's a good thing to have at least one serious brain related diagnosis besides autism.Autism may not be a sickness any more,but whatever other serious disorder you have is.You don't see people with cerebral folate deficiency going around screaming about neurodiversity.

This goes far beyond the usual suspects in the neurodiversity movement.Alexis Wineman is the future of autism,like it or lump it.

jonathan said...

If you don't fit that,you will be ignored,which is why it's a good thing to have at least one serious brain related diagnosis besides autism.

Roger: I agree. The problem is, however, science has not yet advanced to the point, where they can pinpoint anywhere near all of the physiologic components associated with idiopathic forms of autism.

Roger Kulp said...

It's getting there.I spend a lot of time keeping up with the research.One or two new causes pop up in the literature every year.The test I had that proved I had cerebral folate deficiency,is only about a year and a half old.

The trouble is autism is not one big,monolithic thing.It's a feature of so many different conditions,with so many different causes.

samaritan said...

http://www.facebook.com/FightingforAutismandMentalHealthAwareness?ref=ts&fref=ts

Off topic and not necessary to publish, but I read your page here now and then, and wanted to let you know that there is a group on facebook called "Let's BAND together to BAN Anti ASD and other pages and their creator's" that has put you on a list of "Anti-ASD" people to watch. They link their followers to your picture and timeline on facebook.

Looks like they got upset because you didn't agree that Einstein had Autism.

Not only that, they have recently reported a young severely autistic man to the police because he had a high voice on the phone and they thought he was impersonating a male, among other things like talking about problems he had associated with more severe forms of Autism. Some even went as far to suggest he might be a pedophile.

This group seems to be extremely paranoid and fairly well followed in their effort to go on witch hunts.

It may be something you wish to ignore, but I respect many of your opinions here, and don't like to see people treated this way behind their back.

I will have to admit it was amusing that they saw disputing Einstein's armchair diagnosis of Autism as a high crime of offense, that met the grade to put someone on a list of "bad" people to keep their eye on.

jonathan said...

@Samaratan. yes, somewhere else alerted me to that page and I've seen it.

Just more of Phil Gluyas' lunacy. It's par for the course from what you would expect from he and his followers.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder if Alexis would like to help out some lonely celibate autistic male achieve his full potential by dating him. I suspect the answer is no."

I suspect that dating such a man and letting him penetrate her body would not help Alexis achieve *her* full potential.

I suspect that she thinks so too herself.

Women are people too, and our bodies are not just medical devices for men to use to achieve their own goals.