"Putting on my best normal" - Hull et al., 2017
Examples of masking:
"But everybody masks. Autistic people aren't the only ones who mask - I'm neurotypical and I mask too. It's the same"
Nope. It's not the same. There's a huge difference between Autistic masking and neurotypical masking. Almost everyone masks to some extent. For example, a neurotypical person will adapt their behaviour, body language, communication style in certain situations and contexts, like in the workplace such as acting more polite, more 'professional' and more friendly. However, it's less extreme than Autistic masking. Autistic people mask as a survival strategy in order to avoid being ostracised for coming across as "weird", "odd", or being made fun of due to years of social exclusion. Autistic masking is scrutinising every interaction and being hyper aware of every facial expression or gesture. And the impact of masking on an Autistic person is entirely different than the impact on a neurotypical person. The costs are much higher because of the mental, emotional, physical and sensory labour. Neurotypicals generally do not experience this and don't need to analyse their interactions to the point of paralysis.
Masking is a "response to the deficit narrative and accompanying stigma that has developed around autism".
Masking shouldn't be associated with a "female autism phenotype"
Masking takes significant energy and is only sustainable for short periods.