Gender fluidity and Autism open gates of power for women

Dancer in corner store

James Maher Photography

US scientists are scared to talk about differences between male and female brains, probably because it will get them fired. The loudest voices say there cannot be male and female brains because there are women and men who think in similar ways.

While universities in the US squelch ideas they don’t like, the rest of the world accepts the scientific theory that there is a male and female brain, and Autistic is the word to describe women who think the same way men do. Professor Simon Baron-Cohen from Cambridge University describes human thinking as a spectrum ranging from extremely logical to extremely social.

Women with Autism think like men
Baron-Cohen imagines one end of the spectrum with a type of extremely high problem-solving intelligence, like Albert Einstein. You probably recognize him as having Autism. He has incredible brain power for using logic to solve complex problems, but he couldn’t get along with teachers, he didn’t get married, he didn’t understand why people combed their hair so he never did. 

On the other end of the spectrum is extremely high emotional intelligence, like the girl in high school who is prom queen and always has a great boyfriend, and is nice to everyone, and always seems to know the right thing to say. She might have a high IQ and might not; it doesn’t matter because she trades on social skills. Here’s the spectrum:

Neurotypical men are one step from Einstein toward the center of the spectrum. Neurotypical women are one step from the prom queen toward the center. So the spectrum looks like this:

Autism pushes a person’s brain one step toward the left. One step toward the left from neurotypical men is Autism. So men who are one step toward the left seem like they have Autism. And women who have Autism are one step to the left of neurotypical women, so they seem like neurotypical men.

Women with Autism make life choices like men
That means women who have Autism actually seem like neurotypical men. And in order to identify women with Autism, we need to compare women to other women. A woman who seems similar to neurotypical women is neurotypical. A woman who seems similar to neurotypical men has Autism.

Basically, our society defines a successful person as having traits typically found in neurotypical men, not neurotypical women. In our misogynist society, we tell women they can be anything, do anything and every door is open to them — theoretically true, but in practice, it’s only true for women with Autism.

Most successful women have Autism
Not all women with Autism are highly successful but most highly successful women have Autism. That’s because highly successful women have to bet big on themselves, and they have to have a singular, long-term focus which is a male approach toward life. Neurotypical women do not enjoy risk-taking, and they don’t like having a singular focus. Even when neurotypical women are in a position to be exceptionally successful, they prefer to spread their attention across many different interests in life. (Look at those links. Harvard Business School. Scientific American. No nonsense there.)

Neurotypical women aren’t tough competitors at work
Neurotypical women are motivated by befriending people rather than competing with them. This is what makes neurotypical women great managers. Neurotypical women aggressively defend people close to them but are not aggressive when it comes to people they know casually. So neurotypical women choose family over work and lose out to men who compete at work nonstop.

Similar to men, Autistic women approach work as a competition, and their Autistic traits make them incredible at hyper-systematizing and hyper-attention to details like if p then q rules. (Um. Yeah. Like, this post.)

Autistic traits help women consolidate power
So when you’re looking for women with Autism,  because most women with Autism have fine eye contact. Instead, look for influence. Autistic women circumvent barriers to power via their androgynous brains.

When it comes to networking, the people who do best are good-looking men and androgynous women; androgynous women look smarter than other women and make the most successful female entrepreneurs. Androgynous women provided the best leadership during Covid, and androgynous women are more flexible and innovative thinkers.

Autistic women appear androgynous unintentionally with markers like a wide gait, a one-footed stance, stories with lots of nouns, and frequent use of UH instead of UM. Or maybe it’s more of an intentional thing because 28% of genderqueer people have Autism.

Okay. So Autistic women and neurotypical men are primed for power and influence and neurotypical women are not. I’m not saying this is how it should be. I’m just saying this is how it is.

Now, remember that spectrum of human thinking? What if just changed the labels?

And what if I told you that in our society, only the people who are in the logic part of the spectrum (not the extreme logic) will be very successful in life, and everyone else will support them either emotionally, intellectually, or manually. You don’t have to be male or female or queer or cis. But you have to fall into that spot on the spectrum. I don’t actually think a lot of people would argue with me. They’d probably be like, yeah, whatever.

So I want to know. Does it make sense to you that women with Autism are ones who are successful? Then what are the ramifications? Can we stop telling all women they can be anything? Is androgyny totally on-trend? Or are things more complicated?

The post Gender fluidity and Autism open gates of power for women appeared first on Penelope Trunk Careers.

Tags: US, Careers, Diversity, Albert Einstein, Cambridge University, Einstein, Baron Cohen, Harvard Business School, Simon Baron Cohen, James Maher


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