Search Box

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Do radical feminists have Aspergers?

Commenter Gethin made the following comment about radical feminists on the post about Aspergers Syndrome yesterday:

I just had an epiphany - radical feminists are Aspies. I've been trying to understand the deranged, obsessive, utterly humourless, furious and empathy-devoid minds of radfems for years (think the nutters who blog on Radfem Hub). Nothing is ever their fault - anything bad that ever happened in their lives is the fault of men or "handmaidens of the patriarchy", AKA normal women. They love portraying themselves as victims and, if they can't find any real examples of how they're "oppressed", they'll invent some - or go on about how women were historically oppressed, as though that means sympathy ought to extend to them.

I've not once seen a radfem apologise or admit fault. Try arguing with them and you'll end up going around in circles; they have their unshakable, baseless beliefs and that's that. They are unable to even entertain the opposite viewpoint, let alone accept it. They project, believing all women think the same as them and yet display cognitive dissonance by loathing women who don't. No matter how nasty the woman or how gentle the man, a radfem will always defend the former. One commentator described this as an almost-religious belief in men being the absolute evil and women the absolute good, like the Original Sin.

Their mental gymnastics are impressive: they'll frequently hold two conflicting views simultaneously, i.e. "biology is not destiny" and "male testosterone poisoning". They misinterpret new concepts a lot. Radfem arguments are peppered with straw men and red herrings. They are obsessed with their ideology: watch their Twitter feeds and it's clear they think about it from the moment they wake up to the moment they sleep. Radfems don't seem to have any fun; I can't see them playing sports or having similar hobbies (no wonder the only emotion they experience is anger). The only 'friends' they seem to have are other radfems, and those are just online.

Basically, they're abject losers. Re-reading this has just made me realise that many must have Asperger's.

I suspect that some radical feminists may also have borderline personality disorder, and some may simply be narcissists; both of those syndromes would also allow for the type of hypocrisy, if not rigidity, that Gethin has described.

One vastly under explored subject is the intersection of psychology and politics. Much of modern Leftism is just various psychological syndromes writ large: the constantly claiming to be offended, the hysterical denunciations of any straightforward and honest observation of racial and gender differences, the hate hoaxes, and so on.

These are all the reactions of people who aren't quite right in the head.

Gethin nailed this one. A lot of Aspies must find a home in radical feminism, which suits their personalities perfectly.


Anonymous said...

This is an interesting post. I think you're into something regarding strident feminists and left-wing liberals. It's true - they're rather nutty in the head.

- Susan

John Craig said...

Susan --
Thanks, but all the credit goes to Gethin.

High Arka said...

At first glance, that description seems to sum things up really well, but replace the variables and it describes almost everyone in an issues-based situation. At a government planning meeting, say, where people are acting professionally, it doesn't apply, because they're onstage, and if you talk to an employee at the market, or meet a friend, or give a client a massage, or flirt with an attractive potential mate, it's still not there. If you interact with someone for purposes of understanding something about the universe or a person's role in it, though--and if not mediated by pre-existing biology, friendship, professional standard, et cetera--pretty much everyone behaves that way. They have social norms into which they've vested themselves, and they conform to those, and they don't like being challenged. I get that from everyone on the spectrum, including people who almost wholly agree with me, if I try to tweak even the corner of one tenet of whatever it is we're (supposed to be) talking about.

From my perspective, it's not a question of how many people have a syndrome called Asperger's, but how many people have a rare syndrome that makes them sufficiently independent from their own beliefs to not exhibit what you might call Aspie behavior in certain challenging situations. If you take all people with Asperger's and put them into Group 1, and put all sociopaths in Group 2, you're left with a very tiny percentage of the population who is both (1) ideatically independent, like sociopaths, yet (2) has some compassion.

(Also, I know some radical feminists IRL and their social lives seem about the same as everyone else's. They might waste time regularly updating the internet with their thoughts on some male atrocity, but from my perspective that's little different than, say, sports fans, or people who like to visit every restaurant in the State in order to take pictures of their suppers.)

John Craig said...

High Arka --
Gotta disagree here. I don't think most people are as unreasonable and hypocritical as radical feminists. Most people, even the average Democrat who has been more or less brainwashed by the media, if you point out some hypocrisy, some inconsistency to them, will at least say, "Well, that's true but....." The hard core feminists, like most on the hard Left, react by becoming hysterical and denouncing you as a sexist, or racist, or Nazi, etc. And Gethin is right, they are also a humorless lot, in fact are famous for their humorlessness.

Aspies also do an awful lot of projection, in my experience. I know one whose every accusation is a perfect description of her, and usually has nothing to do with the person she is accusing.

I agree that there aren't that many people who are really free thinkers. But again, most people, if you point out inconsistencies, will at least acknowledge them. The Aspie/radfem wing of the feminist movement will just react by reciting more dogma. The rigidity of their belief system is striking, and far more so than the average person's.

It's my impression that a lot of the radical feminists are also lesbians. The leadership of NOW, for instance, has been mostly lesbian for quite some time now. (Is that why we never hear of that group anymore?) And lesbians, from what I've seen, tend to retreat into their own little social ghettos where they can keep contact with men to a minimum.

High Arka said...

Do you have a comparison group that could help me better understand what makes radical feminists different from my perception of the majority of people? I'm sure there's a difference between people who get an official diagnosis of Asperger's and people who don't, so maybe I'm just not understanding what makes Asperger's and/or radical feminists/ism different.

Example: I talk to white supremacists about social programs in the inner city and crime prevention, and they blow up at me. Now, I know for a fact that most of that "social program" money is directed to sleazy reverends, minority-owned-business contracts, and other worthless crap, and I also know that a majority (a supermajority? All but one or two?) of inner city (black) youths would rather shoot each other over social slights than take a free introductory coding class, and I'm inclined to believe that's genetic. But if I discuss the issue with a white supremacist without immediately agreeing with them, they identify me as an SJW enemy and start telling me I'm illogical, I don't believe in science, I physically resemble Michael Moore, et cetera. Of course, some of them won't talk to you at all unless your profile says "male," so I change some of my profiles at random intervals.

I've had the same sets of experiences with radical feminists. If I approach them and talk about how some military movie was clearly made by a repressed homo who loved men in uniform, they're my best friend, and they act normally (i.e., like normal socializing). (Of course, some of them won't talk to you at all unless your profile says "female," so like I said, I change some of my profiles at random intervals.) If, though, I approach them and bring up something about testosterone and biochemistry, I get the treatment you and Gethin identified as Asperger's-related. It's been my perceived identity, and their perception of my beliefs based upon the conversational subject chosen, that has dictated the course of the interaction. If they see me as friendly, they seem to do all the normal social things. Maybe I just don't know enough?

Again, I'm not saying you're wrong, but I'm not seeing how what we as a society call "Asperger's" is differentiated from what our many smaller segments of society call "being an asshole." Chalk it up to my ignorance of this Age's syndromes. (Remember, I was sent from outer space to observe Jenome's consumption of this planet, so to me, you all look crazy anyway. ;-))

John Craig said...

High Arka --
I'm sure you're right and that a lot of the dumb neo-Nazi skinhead-types are just as dogmatic and illogical and quick to lash out as the radfems. And I'm guessing that a fair percentage of them, at least the ones who act the way you describe, are probably Aspies as well.

If you've ever known someone with Aspergers well, there's a certain pattern of behavior which is distinct and recognizable. I tried to describe it here:

But it's one of those things, like sociopathy, that sort of has to be experienced in person to have a feel for it. (It does sound as if you've had a fair amount of experience with them.) You're right, a lot of Aspies are just called assholes, and where does one leave off and the other begin? But "asshole" is such a broad term which usually encompasses everybody who displeases the speaker, from Aspies to narcissists, to sociopaths, to borderline personalities, to -- if the speaker himself is a narcissistic personality -- everybody who doesn't kowtow to him enough.

Anyway, I suppose the point I'm trying to get to is that assholery (like that word?) takes different forms, and sometimes the behavior follows distinct, recognizable patterns, and with Aspies -- whether they be radical feminists or neo-Nazis or some other rigidly ideological dogma-reciter -- the behavior patterns shows through.

Unknown said...

All the ones I've known have been unattractive.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of what you wrote about aspergers syndrome from your post from August 18, 2011 but not that it is impossible for people with aspergers to self-diagnose. I’m in my mid-fifties and just discovered a couple of years ago via an online test that I have it. Since then I’ve come across a number of other middle-aged women who later in life also discovered they have the syndrome. Note: there are quite a number of other traits connected to Aspergers besides not being able to reading emotions on other people’s faces and the other traits you mentioned in your earlier post.

Also note: since discovering that I have Aspergers – I’ve also noticed that it is quite often the people who want to learn all about aspergers syndrome who have discovered it themselves. (After they find out – they want to know more about the syndrome so that they can try to counteract the negative aspects it.) The ones who are (how shall I say it, “the people who blame all their relationship problems on other people”) aren’t usually the ones who discover it themselves. It’s only after a psychiatrist / doctor / family member gives them the diagnosis.

The reason I’m commenting on this post is because after I discovered I had aspergers, I e-mailed the address of the online test to a close lesbian (former rad-fem) girlfriend and she took it. Her results showed that she’s not in the least bit autistic.

My girlfriend is very social and quite empathetic. It’s only when subjects dealing with feminism were discussed –then would she become ‘dogmatic’ and ‘unreasonable’. Sometimes I teased her about the fact that 90% of her music cd’s were made by lesbian musicians. She would just smile upon hearing my comments but I don’t think she would react the same way if a man had made the same comments.

There are some subtle differences between rad-fem lesbiens and women with aspergers – but I don’t think that outsiders would pick up on them. For instance; women with aspergers often have androgynous traits and many think of themselves as half-female / half-male. (I can’t imagine the other female aspergers I know shouting, “I’m a woman, hear me roar!”) Plus rad-fems tend to be group people (sisterhood!) and aspergers aren’t ‘group’ people. (Most of them prefer to be alone or only with another person).

My girlfriend’s father was an authoritarian figure and had a military background. Plus I suspect that she also didn’t feel comfortable with her sexuality (I know she would have loved to be ‘standard’, ‘normal’, ‘fit in with the crowd’ but her sexuality didn’t allow her to do this). She also worked in an office where many of her co-workers were single mothers trying to support their families on low wages without any assistance from their ex-husbands. So these 3 factors I’m guessing were a potent combination and the reason why she turned into an obstinate radical feminist.

Since then her relationship with her father has improved dramatically, she’s come to terms with being lesbian (she recently married her girlfriend of 30 years) and she’s now working at a different office.

This has led to her softening her attitude towards men. She’s still a bit of a feminist but can now discuss feminist issues without becoming as you say, “deranged, obsessive, utterly humourless, furious and empathy-devoid”.

And please, keep up the posts on sociopaths! Unfortunately I’ve had a few too many contacts with them (even one is one too many!) and your blog is one of the best for explaining the condition.

John Craig said...

Anon --
You just spurred me to take a look at one of those online tests. I did the first page of one of them, but didn't continue because that would have required a download, which usually causes my computer to slow. But the impression I got was that the test was asking your opinion on whether you WANT to be diagnosed with Aspergers. (Typical question: do you have more or fewer friends than most people your age?) And other questions call for self-judgment which may or may not be reliable. (Another question: do you have trouble handling social situations in an unstructured setting?) It's been my impression of a few Aspies I've known that they think they're handling such situations better than they are.

So, I'm not sure how reliable these tests are. (They may really be better indications of narcissism than of Aspergers.) And you do sound awfully reasonable and balanced, compared to the Aspies I've known. Of course, I've also gotten a number of recent comments on that original Aspergers post you referenced from people with Aspergers which sound far more balanced than the first 150 or so comments that I got on that post.

Interesting about your former girlfriend's relationship with her father, and how its softening has resulted in a softening of her attitude toward men in general. I've long suspected that in a lot of cases -- Hillary Clinton being one prominent example -- a woman's sexuality and politics are largely dictated by that.

Anyway, yes, I'm sure there are radical feminists who don't have Aspergers. And Gethin's last line was that "many must have Aspergers," which implies, but not all. And I think his point was that the planks of the radical feminist movement reflect a very Aspergerian view of the world, given their rigidity and double standards.

Thank you re: the sociopath posts.

Anonymous said...

You are right that the online tests don’t prove that one has the syndrome. They more give an indication that you might have it.

Sometime before I took the test I discovered that my father has aspergers syndrome. (Long story as to how I found out – turned out that someone else I know who is a ‘carbon copy’ of my dad was diagnosed by a psychiatrist with aspergers. If you met my dad – after 5 minutes you would say, “Aspergers syndrome!”)

Via asperger blogs I kept coming across articles that stated that aspergers can be passed down genetically.

From Wikipedia:

Hans Asperger described common symptoms among his patients' family members, especially fathers, and research supports this observation and suggests a genetic contribution to Asperger syndrome.

So I took an online test – and the results said I might have it. Afterwards I started looking even more information up over the syndrome. It was after I found out that I had a number of the physical characteristics of aspergers such as stimming and extreme clumsiness (to name a few) that I realized I had it.

The way that a number of other middle-aged women discover they have aspergers is also via the ‘genetic path.’ One or more of their kids are diagnosed by a school psychiatrist with aspergers. So mom starts researching the syndrome and discovers that genetics plays a role. After re- reading the aspergers characteristics – they start thinking, “maybe my kid got it from me and not my husband since I do have a lot of asperger traits...”

Neither of my girlfriend’s parents have aspergers but because my girlfriend ‘stims’ I thought that there might be a possibility that she had it.

John Craig said...

Anon --
I think you're absolutely right about how middle-aged women discover that they have it, that makes perfect sense, especially since teachers are on the lookout for it these days and a generation ago it wasn't as widely known, or looked for.

I've seen the clumsiness up close, and have also seen it get considerably worse after a drink or two.

Interesting about swimming, I hadn't been aware of that before. I'd know about the repetitive movements, but not the tactile stimulation aspect.

Unknown said...

My 2 cents, honestly I've always thought feminism was disproportionately represented by Cluster B personality types.

John Craig said...

Gambino Dellacroce --
I"m with you. I don't see the sociopaths as much here (except among the leadership positions, where you'll often find them in any movement), but I certainly see the borderline personalities, the histrionic types, and the narcissists. As well as the Aspies. Keep in mind, Aspies and narcissists have a fair amount of overlap: both groups have a hard time admitting when they're wrong, and both groups can be tremendously hypocritical.

Anonymous said...

To Bob Wallace,

I think many are unattractive because the most outspoken ones tend to be smug hipsters or overweight feminist types who are proud to have the disorder.

Actually, EVERYONE on that channel looks ugly. The Trans video (DOUBLE OMFG), the fat person video (OMFG).

This girl has aspergers and I think she looks cute. (Im 17, she is 16 in case you are wondering, so it's ok)
I didn't watch much of the video though, I got bored after 15 seconds.