Monday, February 27, 2006

A Question

I was reading an article today about Sunday Star Times about ADHD and someone was quoting as saying "I come over as a bit weird. I don't htink I'm sleazy though, which is an issue with some of us, we're too full-on. We stand too close, we don't know the social cues."

Now I often feel uncomfortable around men who are really socially awkward (and I'm talking about people who have something seriously physiologically or psychologically wrong with them, not your common or garden, 'oh my god why is my life so much worse than everyone else' - that we're all pretty much trying to grow out of). It made me wonder about the politics of that uncomfortableness. To what extent is it just prejudice against people who don't fit the social norms, and to what extent is it an actual awareness of danger?

I don't really have any answers to this. I certainly don't want to make women feel guilty about their spidey sense for danger (because I don't think we trust it enough - and I've been right about a socially awkward person).

But I think it may be an example of us making the wrong things seem unsafe. Just like we're in much more danger in our own homes than we are in the dark alley at night. We're probably in much more danger from someone who doesn't intimidate us, who doesn't make us feel creepy when he looks at our bodies, who knows what to say.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:50 pm


    I also read that article on ADHD (in fact, it was the ONLY article I read in the SST, and it still wasn't a good article), and I thought that comment that guy made was really interesting too.

    I teach a number of students with ADHD, and it strikes me that while they do all have difficulties with attention, impulsivity and keeping still, they are all very different in how they express themselves, and therefore their levels of 'weirdness' vary greatly too. I certainly can see how the other students form opinions about them - how they think the kid is weird because they don't act 'normal'. I guess the same happens to adults too. I've never met anyone with ADHD who came across as 'sleazy'. And, for the record, I've never felt threatened by any of my students with ADHD (but then standing close, moving around a lot and/or yelling out randomly, which is what my students do, doesn't intimidate me).

    While we may be in more danger from someone we know than a random stranger, I still think that people you know (and love) can initimidate you. And if they are endangering you in any way, then I don't see how they could not be intimidating. Surely? Or am I being nieve?

    As for people who don't make us feel creepy when they look at our bodies, but still threaten/intimidate us...sure, I have no doubt this happens. But I also think that if someone makes you feel creepy when they look at you then they possibly aren't really a good person to be around anyway.

    This post reminds of when we first arrived in Chch, and we were told not to walk through Hagley Park at night, as it's 'dodgy'. And it may well be...but it's funny when we're the ones walking through the park, having a smoke in our big long coats, and I get the distinct impression that WE are the dodgy ones people were talking about.

    I guess what I'm saying is it's about people's perceptions of what is 'normal' and 'safe' behaviour and how accurate those perceptions are. So yes, we're talking prejudice here, as well as education, I think.

    BTW There are LOTS of disagreement amongst teacher about ADHD - ie whether it exits, whether we should medicate etc. Interesting stuff.