8 Autistic Female Characters You Should Know About

8 Autistic Female Characters You Should Know About

Ten years ago, as an autistic child, I didn't see myself in media. Today I can.
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As an autistic kid, I didn't often see characters who were explicitly autistic, let alone autistic and female. In the rare case that I did, it usually came through a Lifetime Original Movie™ highlighting the tragedy of autism, of how a person with autism wasn't a person at all - they were an inconvenience. They were a nuisance. They were annoying. According to media at the time, girls didn't have autism. Oh no - they highlighted autistic boys. At the time, there were no autistic female characters for me to with which to identify as a kid; it was disheartening to see so little of me in media. Thankfully, today I am able to see and relate to a few autistic female characters* in TV shows and video games. Want to know more about them? Look at the list below.

*There will be mention of characters who have, by the show/video games creators, not confirmed to be autistic or otherwise on the autism spectrum but are on the list because of their representative traits.

1. Fiona Helbron, Elementary

While researching information for this article, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of female autistic characters that have cropped up in recent media. Fiona Helbron is no exception. She might initially be seen as displaying overtly stereotypical autistic symptoms - social awkwardness, difficult with eye contact, etc. - but, over the course of her time on the show, she interacts with the show's protagonists in positive ways, in relation to both character and story.

2. Brigid Tenenbaum, BioShock

Creator Ken Levine specifically states that Tenenbaum is a high-functioning autistic Jewish woman in Bioshock. She is a flawed character who reflects the world that she had been forced to grow up in; her passion for science influences the trajectory of her story arc and the lives of countless others in the video game franchise.

3. Temperance "Bones" Brennan, Bones

While not explicitly stated as autistic, "Bones" displays many characteristic traits of autistic individuals, more so Asperger's syndrome. She is incredibly intelligent and has a dry sense of humor; she also has trouble with social interaction and has an intense interest (and skill!) in forensic anthropology.

4. Tina Belcher, Bob's Burgers

Again, while not mentioned as autistic - Louise makes a odd joke in the pilot episode stating Tina's supposed autism - Tina does have many traits that convey as such. She has several special interests (horses, zombies, boys), needs more time to understand social cues, and speaks in a seemingly flat/robotic manner. These traits don't solely define her as a character, though; she is able to have crazy/funny adventures with her family.

5. Julia, Sesame Street




A relatively new character, Sesame Street's Julia is an initiative, through their app and online videos, in providing autism awareness and acceptance. Julia is especially relevant to young children with autism, their parents, and their peers.

6. Symmetra, Overwatch

There is a theory floating around the Overwatch fanbase that Symmetra is autistic. Especially evident in the digital tie-in comic short "A Better World", Symmetra displays such traits as disliking large swathes of people, difficulty with socializing, limited scopes of empathy, and preference for structured environments.

7. Saga Noren, The Bridge

The protagonist of the Scandinavian crime drama The Bridge, Saga Noren, is currently lauded by social media as being one of the few female main characters in a TV show with autism. And so should she. Her actress Sofia Helin refers to the condition as such in interviews and researched it before filming began. The research paid off in a big way: Saga's display of autistic symptoms - lack of awareness in social situations, difficulty relating to others, extreme bluntness - have amassed both critical acclaim and appreciative praise from fans.

8. Suzanne Warren, Orange is The New Black

Her disability has yet to be stated in-show, but Suzanne Warren, nicknamed "Crazy Eyes" by inmates in the first season, is portrayed as having symptoms similar to that of autism. As demonstrated in the Netflix hit, these symptoms include difficulty understanding social interactions/cues (latching onto Piper, telling a story about dragons/death to kids at a sleepover when she was a kid), repetitive movements (hits herself), insistence on routine and structure (her hair). She is initially portrayed as a nuisance by other characters in the first season (hence the nickname); in season two and beyond, her characterization and story arc is further fleshed out.

As of now, there are, and should be, more examples of autistic female characters in the future other than those in this list. As of now, only a small percentage of autistic characters in fiction are female or otherwise not male. Today, though their numbers are small, they are growing. Today, it's a different, slightly better story. Let's hope the trend continues, and expands even further in the future.

Cover Image Credit: Sesame Street Workshop

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Short Stories On Odyssey: Roses

What's worth more than red roses?

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Five years old and a bouquet of roses rested in her hands. The audience-- clapped away her performance, giving her a standing ovation. She's smiling then because everything made sense, her happiness as bright as the roses she held in her hands.

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Eighteen now and a trail of tears followed her to the door. Partying, and doing some wild things, she just didn't know who she was. She's crying now, doesn't know anymore, slamming her fists into walls, pricking her fingers on roses' thorns.

Twenty-one and a bundle of bills were grasped in her hands. All the men-- clapped and roared as she sold her soul, to the pole, for a dance. She's frowning now because everything went wrong, but she has to stay strong, for rich green money, is worth more than red roses.

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