Is feeling “not like other girls” just internalized misogyny?

After posting the previous post (I wasn’t like “like other girls” because I’m autistic), some people have suggested that thinking “I’m not like other girls” is internalized misogyny. I can see how it can be internalized misogyny in some cases, but it’s not necessarily true that everyone who thinks that has misogynistic reasoning behind it. 

While I can acknowledge that this line of reasoning of being “different” from other girls can be problematic, changing the focus to its misogynistic uses ignores that there can be real feelings of loneliness and alienation behind the statement. As mentioned in the previous post, it is now on trend to mock people who state that they are “not like other girls”. This issue of the statement’s misogynistic uses is already well known. On the other hand, there are real differences, especially social differences, between autistic and neurotypical people which can lead to feelings of alienation. In my opinion, this latter issue deserves more attention.

If you are an autistic girl surrounded by neurotypical girls, it’s natural to feel that you’re not like other girls. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you would get along any better with boys, but if your social circle is composed of other girls, then your judgments will be about other girls. If you have been hurt and excluded only by other girls, then your judgments will be formed by what you have experienced.

It wasn’t until I entered university and mingled with other genders that I realized I didn’t fit in with most others, regardless of gender.

In addition, many autistic people are trans and/or non-binary. So the statement then becomes, “I’m not like other girls because I’m not a girl.” This statement is relevant to me because I identify as non-binary, specifically, agender. The feeling of not being like other girls doesn’t always come from a place of misogyny, but it can arise from real differences.

My quote from my 16 year old self observing gender differences in gossiping were mere observations within my own circle of peers. It did not make a judgment about whether men were superior to women or vice versa. I believe I made accurate observations, but these observations were only relevant to my own social circle. It’s quite likely my observations do not generalize to the entire population. My 16 year old self desiring “more guy friends” was simply the result of wanting to have friends I could connect with, because I did not feel like I could connect to my female peers. 

While I can see how my 16 year old self could be seen as misogynistic for wanting guy friends to have “intellectual” conversations with, I was generally misanthropic in my teens and early adulthood (i.e. disliking humans regardless of gender). Additionally, I don’t think it is productive to criticize my depressed teenage self from over 10 years ago considering how traumatized I was from having a lack of friends and living in an abusive home. A lot has changed since then, and I am different now. Arguing with 16 year old me would be arguing with a person that no longer exists.

The focus should be on how to make autistic people feel seen and connected. I was absorbed in my special interests and didn’t care for social chit chat, because I was autistic. I harshly judged people who gossiped because of my rigid moral codes and strong sense of justice, which are more traits common to autistic people. I felt different, because I was different. The feeling of being “not like other girls” was rooted in real differences, and it’s not a good feeling to have. It can be lonely and alienating. This is what I want people to understand.

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