2 thoughts on “Unintended Ableism: On Calling Men “Creepy”

  • December 12, 2018 at 10:58 am

    There’s a world of difference between saying someone looks “creepy” because of, say, facial scarring or similar, and saying that someone “is creepy” (sorry, limits of the English language) because of behaviors. If someone is engaging in behaviors that make others feel concerned for their bodily autonomy or physical safety (i.e. stalking them through the darkness – “Am I about to be assaulted?!”), it can certainly be unintentional, a social skills shortcoming found in many disorders (including my own). But you know what? That person has a responsibility to seek help and to learn better behaviors. “Autism” is not an excuse for making another worried about their safety. You can learn. I have gone through effort to learn such.

    Reply
    • December 12, 2018 at 1:57 pm

      No one, ever, should feel comfortable allowing a stranger to stalk them through the darkness. If someone has unique behaviors that are potentially harmless (like differences in eye contact, response time, etc.), that is not enough of a reason to assume that person is dangerous. Again, I would like to stress, that no one should ever put him or herself in danger. Stalking people through darkness is not an autistic behavior and not the kind of behavior that I addressed in the article. Autistics cannot learn to not be autistic, and the onus is not on them to ask others to not be creeped out by their medical and neurological differences. Different types of eye contact or different mannerisms are not sinister and do not need to be fixed or changed. They are natural differences that are not pathological or harmful. Of course, no one needs to accept unwanted touch or put themselves in an unsafe position, but we should determine if our feelings about someone are a result of actual harmful/threatening behaviors or if we feel that way because we sense they are somehow different.

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