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.
3074
views

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

Popular Right Now

22 Post Malone ‘beerbongs & bentleys’ Lyrics College Kids Will Use As Insta Captions This Summer

It's here, and it's fire.
345681
views

If you didn't know, I am really not sure how you wouldn't know, but it's fine, Post Malone's new album FINALLY came out! Posty has time and time again proven that he's a trailblazer in the music industry. His genre is a mix of everything, from rap to acoustic guitar, and he sounds like he's at home in both settings.

Here it is, a list of Post Malone lyrics you'll use or see as Instagram captions. I can already feel it, this summer is Posty's summer –– a summer for "beerbongs & bentleys."

1. "Spoil My Night" - "Won't you come spoil my night?"

2. "Spoil My Night" - "Feelings come into play and I'm thinkin' this happens every time"

3. "Spoil My Night" - "Yeah, when I walk up in a party, they all act like they know me"

4. "Zack and Codeine" - "Been livin' fast, no I can't take it slowly"

5. "Zack and Codeine" - "But it don't mean nothing without all my people"

6. "Zack and Codeine" - "Pour that drink 'cause we ain't sleepin' tonight"

7. "Takin Shots" - "Heard that there's a party, I might pay a visit"

8. "Takin Shots" - "Baby, just for the night, you my soulmate"

9. "Over Now" - "I'ma turn the tables, promise you will not forget it"

10. "Stay" - "Damn, who are we right now?"

11. "Blame It On Me" - "These hurricanes inside of my brain"

12. "Same Bitches" - "Bottles on deck, and my drink full"

13. "Same Bitches" - "Population four million, how I see the same bitches?"

14. "Jonestown" - "It happens every time"

15. "92 Explorer" - "She in the front seat head bangin'"

16. "Sugar Wraith" - "And then I went and changed my life"

17. "Sugar Wraith" - "I take the lead, they just follow"

18. "Rockstar" - "Sayin, 'I'm with the band'"

19. "Rockstar" - "Livin’ like a Rockstar, I’m livin’ like a Rockstar"

20. "Rockstar" - "Sweeter than a Pop-Tart”

21. "Psycho" - "Can’t really trust nobody with all this jewelry on you"

22. "Psycho" - "I got homies, let it go"

Cover Image Credit: Post Malone // Instagram

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Fiction On The Odyssey: Without Chaos Part 2

The world is a broken record; history is a pattern that repeats itself.
367
views

Click here to read part one.


25. Stove

There is no massive pot of potato stew when she returns.

Instead, the living room is filled with barrels.

26. Smug

She used be so smug when she was younger, back when everything was perfect.

God, she wants to punch that brat.

27. Emotion

Her first emotion, when the boy with the steadfast gaze offers her a shower at his house, is fear.

28. Chin

The boy with the steadfast gaze, she learns upon closer inspection, has dimples when he smiles, as well as a small mole on his chin.

The mole fascinates her.

How must it feel to have such a perfect life that even something as insignificant as a mole sits perfectly equidistant from either side of his face?

29. Winter

When she’s not shivering, dirty, and sitting beneath the shadow of a leafless tree, she can appreciate the beauty. The view from his bathroom is positively gorgeous. The world, powdered with white and covered in icicles, is a winter wonderland.

With this comfortably sheltered view through the window frame, it’s hard to believe that such beauty could be so deadly.

30. Knots

The clothes that adorn her body are clean and warm. The air smells deliciously salty, wonderfully sweet, and perfectly spicy. For a moment, she can almost believe she’s somewhere else - somewhere where the view is vast and blue in the best possible way, the wind tangles tangles her hair, and she feels her father’s hand on her own.

“Dad, how fast are we going?” she had yelled.

“Twenty-three knots!” he’d screamed back.

“Don’t yell,” her mother had reprimanded.

But when she had glanced behind at her mother, she had seen that her mother was smiling, too.

31. Stay

“Thank you for everything,” she says to the mother of the boy with the steadfast gaze. “I’ll return the clothes tomorrow.”

“Oh, honey,” the mother says, “Wouldn’t you like to stay? I’ve made you tomato soup. My son says it’s your favorite.”

She would love to stay if not only for the tomato soup, but her mother had once told her to never, at all costs, leave herself indebted to another. “Oh, um - “

“I insist.”

But then again, her mother spends most of her time unconscious on the apartment’s puke-filled couch.

32. Rarest

The rarest feeling in the world, she decides, is that of genuine belonging.

33. Describe

“What’s the world’s most impossible task?” he asks her one windy morning.

Her shoulders lift into a shrug.

“Describing a color to a blind person.”

34. Surrounds

She learns quickly that silence is one thing that he cannot tolerate for long. As a result, the space between them is often filled to the brim with random trivia facts.

She doesn’t mind. To her, it’s a welcome distraction from everything else that surrounds her.

35. Step

She takes a step towards him and stumbles.

She’s righted before she ever had the chance to fall.

36. Eyes

His gaze still speaks of steadfast loyalty.

She no longer wants to punch him.

37. Know

“Did you know that vodka is made from potatoes?”

“Nope,” she replies breezily before feeling the full impact of their words. She pauses.

The potatoes. The massive pot. The barrels.

Oh, no.

She’s off before he can utter another word.

38. Can

She can make it home before the officers arrive.

She can make it home before the officers arrive.

She must.

39. Tasteless

His mother sets a bowl of steaming tomato soup down in front of her.

Her stomach churns.

The soup is red, bright red. It’s the exact shade of the ugly red tape that had been hastily applied in a severe “X” across the front door of the apartment: the one that read: RESTRICTED AREA: AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.

Her mother was arrested. The apartment was locked up.

All remnants of her previous life is gone.

And it took her four days to realize.

Briefly, she wonders why she has yet to be pulled aside by the school and placed in a community home. She wonders if, when her mother told the police that she was childless, her mother had been thinking of her daughter, for once, or if her mother had simply forgotten about the existence of her daughter.

Bitterly, she concludes that it was the latter.

His mother frowns at the untouched bowl. “Eat up. You’ll need your strength.”

The soup is tasteless.

40. Aimless

She aches from the sudden detachedness from her previous life. And yet, her release relieves her.

She thinks of everything. She thinks of nothing.

She doesn’t know what to do.

41. Weary

When he smiles, she’s too weary to smile back.

42. Tentatively

It’s a few days before the sky finally decides to reflect her the state of her soul.

He has kept quiet for the past few days. Their silences aren’t tense like they once were, but they haven’t been comfortable, either. She can feel his pressing curiosity, threatening to crush their delicate silence. She knows she should tell him before he asks, as he’s bound to find out either way. And yet, she can’t find the words.

“So, uh,” he says, tentatively.

His voice wavers slightly.

He’s also scared, she realizes with amazement. Of what, she doesn’t know. But she can guess.

“I didn’t realize that -” she breaks off abruptly, temporarily shocked by the sound of her voice. After a brief glance at him, she catches sight of the encouraging smile tugging at his lips. She continues. “I didn’t realize that my mother had been making vodka until you told me that bit of trivia, the one about vodka and potatoes.”

“You didn’t realize?” he asked, astonishment written all over his face. “But, wouldn’t you notice if your apartment started smelling like alcohol?”

Has she really not told him?

“It always smells like alcohol.”

43. Remembers

For the first time in years, she gets tucked into bed, complete with a kiss on her forehead.

Tears slide silently down her cheeks as she thinks of her father.

44. Signature

“Did you know,” she says, testing his signature phrase on her lips, “that one time, a crack junkie complained to the police about the cocaine he bought being of subpar quality?”

His head is back and he’s laughing, laughing, laughing.

She can’t process anything, she can’t process nothing, not when that jovial sound is cascading freely though his mouth. Her heart has stopped beating. She stops breathing. Her eyes are wide. She watches, and watches, and watches, and -

“W-well?” he asks, still wheezing and still giggling. “What h-happened t-to him?”

She’s caught completely off guard. Her heart is still in her throat. “Um. Oh. Right, er, uh - arrested. Obviously. He got arrested.”

He roars into laughter once again.

After a few seconds, she stops watching.

She joins him.

45. Intelligent

She never has the the guts to say it herself, but she’s grateful for his presence in her life. He always knows what to say, what not to say, and when to say nothing at all.

She’s glad to have met someone as intelligent as him.

46. Notice

It takes her a while, but finally, she visits her mother.

Her mother doesn’t even seem to notice her presence.

It takes her much, much longer, but eventually, she realizes that it’s okay that her mother cannot recognize her, much less pay her any attention. There are better people that can.

47. Strong

Once upon a time, she thought she was strong.

Fate has confirmed that.

48. Home

Over a bowl of ripe raspberries, in a blanket fort, they do silly, memorable things in the way that friends do. They talk of unimportant things and make unspoken promises. It takes her some time, but finally, it registers that she has inadvertently found herself a home with the boy with eyes that speak of steadfast loyalty.

She might as well make herself at home.

49. Carve

“What's your name?”

He smiles broadly. “I thought you'd never ask.”

She takes his name and carves it onto her heart.

50. Everything

The world is a broken record. History is a pattern that repeats itself.

Without chaos, everything remains.


Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash / Lane Jackman

Related Content

Facebook Comments