Friday, February 12, 2010

Aspies in the media

In the autism community, I hear a lot of complaints about how people with Asperger syndrome are depicted in the media. A TV show will try to introduce an aspie character, but they will follow some stereotypes, such as lack of emotion. But here's what I have to say about all that: characters meant to have Asperger syndrome depict stereotypes. Indeed they do. I am in total agreement. But what about those odd people whom everyone loves? Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter? Flint from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs? (Isn't that such a cute movie?) The list is endless. Of course, these characters weren't created with a diagnosis of Asperger's in mind. But it seems that most people can relate to them; they are lovable. Maybe the producers only had nerdiness in mind, but what are the "nerds" of the 80s other than undiagnosed Aspies? So it is my opinion that if you try to make a character fit the criteria for an Asperger's diagnosis, you screw up horribly. But if the character is simply socially awkward in a lovable way, I don't think you can go too far wrong. It is these "hidden aspies" that, in my opinion, add depth to movies and TV programs.

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