As I have mentioned previously, each week (or so...) this term, I am planning to do what I'm asking students on a mythology module I'm teaching to do - namely to blog on an aspect of the module, based around our weekly topics, ideally by taking a particular focus, with my focus being autism and myth.
|Hula from c. 1915 - image details here.Why I have begun with a |
photograph of the hula should come clear further down this posting...
I went into today's class, 'Myth and Gender' which was taught by my wonderful colleague Dr Jose Magalhaes, with particular ideas in mind - where I would look at how autism is very often regarded as associated with boys and men, leaving many girls and women undiagnosed, and at how autistic people can find that myth resonates with a sense of gender that does not fit a male-female binary.
I was gong to bring in the reflections of Alis Rowe in her The Girl with the Curly Hair: Asperger's and Me (p.32) where she discusses 'all the confusion [she] felt about her gender' from the age of around 11. I probably WILL do this further down the road, while also sharing insights from other autistic women, including those diagnosed as adults.
But for now, as the session raised some issues that have taken me aback, I am gong to get some of what came up down - not least as what came up included an examination of cultures where the terms for sexuality and gender in Western vocabulary do not map. Asked how to define 'gender' and 'sexuality' and 'sex' one student, a study-abroad student who usually studies in Hawaii, mentioned a broarder spectrum in Hawaii.
Fascinated by what he said about the gender, māhū, 'in the middle', I have done a very, very initial dive and learnt about how, across Pacific islands, there is a gender neither male nor female, and both male and female.
I am also at the very early stages of finding out about where Polynesian gods might come in including the Hawaiian goddess Laka - who perhaps comparable with an Athena who danced the Pyrrike into being with her birth - bore the hula.
More to follow... on all this I hope.