Representation Vs Autism: Good When Useful

Kind of makes an Autiste like me believe that society will only think me worthy of my keep if I'm somehow profitable.

Representation Vs Autism: Good When Useful
Image care of ASAN's Cafe Press shop:

Remember that pin in last week's entry? I'm back on my rants! Woot. I'm still moving them over, but I've already done a series of Tropes Vs Autism, and if I figure out how, I shall link to the entire tag. I might have to ask smarter people about that one. As you may guess by the title, Autism representation generally comes in two flavours: the burden or the very specific genius.

Kind of makes an Autiste like me believe that society will only think me worthy of my keep if I'm somehow profitable.

This has leaked into my Science Fiction, and turned the mirror towards that world. In that the entire human race is accepted into Galactic Society because Human Insanity is profitable. The human ability to bulldoze through trouble is useful. And the pack-bonding comes in handy.

I've already received hate about my kinder, gentler future. I can't wait to receive hate about how I made the whole of humanity only accepted for their usefulness. Having it be how I feel all the time might not fly with the neurotypical community. They get very upset when their own standards are used against them.

I'm still figuring out that one, to be honest.

You'd think they'd operate under their own rules, but no-o-o-o... they don't like it one bit. I wonder if they know it's rude.

The problem may not be the whole late-stage capitalism philosophy that life is only worthwhile if there's a profit to be wrung out of it. Though that's probably a huge portion of it. The problem, for me, is that there are polar opposite representation options.

Autistes are either immense burdens or allowed to get away with everything short of witnessed murder because of their Super-Special Autism Power. Bleh.

Neurotypical characters are allowed to be complicated. They can have depth. They can have nuance. Autistic characters are autistic first and head into one or two options. They don't get much further development than that. No depth. No complications. No interesting wrinkles. Just the Autistic Burden or the Autistic With A Profit Angle.

That is, of course, if Autism is their foundational character trait. If Autism is tacked on later, then it's a thin bandage over an Asshole Genius that is covered briefly and never mentioned twice. It's a good excuse and not a key component.

And then there's how reality follows that pattern. Autistic people are either heartwarming headlines: "Despite Disability, [NAME] Does Excellent Work!" type format with some fluff piece about how someone with a lot of special needs keeps soldiering on in the capitalist hellscape. The other alternative is Someone Famous going on in an interview about their official diagnosis and how it made their career.

No middle ground leaves no room for anyone who doesn't fit those narrow niches.