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Whose idea of gender, anyways?

A lot of people who talk about autism seem to be concerned that we (autistic people) "don't get" gender appropriate behavior or gender roles. Of course, gender appropriate behavior is totally a social construct, and who defines what's appropriate for any given gender, anyways? When it comes to autism, the expectation (which we often don't meet, even a little bit) is for us to aim for and achieve fairly stereotypical and outdated ideals of feminity or masculinity. Failure to do so is presented as not understanding proper gendered behavior, rather than as understanding why gender roles can be harmful and shouldn't be used as a prescriptive model. 

So we are told: autism makes us confused about gender. 

Maybe it does, in a way. Neuronormative constructions of gender don't make any sense to me. 

But here are the next questions: Does neuronormativity confuse people about autistic ways of constructing and performing gender? Does neuronormativity confuse people about neurodivergent ways of constructing and performing gender? And if so, how come we're only calling one side of this relationship confused?


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