I have wanted to write about this for a while but I have been putting it off.
I wanted to address the issue with “Autism Moms” or “Autism Parents” and the exploitative tactics that sellers of Puzzle piece merchandise utilize to gain sales.
I reached out to a parent run company on etsy that was selling a sparkly puzzle piece enamel pin in honour of their Autistic child. I tried to educate them and tell them that it is a symbol of hate and eugenics, and instead they felt threatened by me and told me if I continued to contact them, that they’d report me to etsy.
There’s over 6,000 listings for the search query of “Puzzle piece Autism”. These are sellers who are EXPLOTING THE IGNORANCE OF FOLKS WHO DO NOT KNOW IT’S A HATE SYMBOL. Chances are, the people selling these items are profiting off this. They probably know how harmful this symbol is and yet they continue to perpetuate it because it’s PROFITABLE.
I’m unsure of how many folks don’t see the problem here. Profiting off these symbols and selling them to unsuspecting individuals is wrong and again, incredibly exploitative.
I’m in a facebook group and a mother had asked about her “Autism Mama” bracelet which was adorned with puzzle pieces, and she was quickly – and swiftly educated.
I ended up having an “Autism Mom” slide in to my private messages and DEMANDING I educate her on the subject. There was more than enough information in the initial thread. She weaponized an Art of Autism article against me about someone who was pro-puzzle piece (but denounced her support in the beginning of the article). I had asked The Art of Autism to amend this article to include pertinent articles and was met with an uncomfortable misunderstanding. At this point, I will no longer associate myself with The Art of Autism.
Make better choices, buy from Autistic people (Made by Autistics Marketplace is a great resource), support the rainbow spectrum infinity symbol and do your research.
A note: If you’re a PARENT of an AUTISTIC CHILD, Do -NOT- co opt their diagnosis as your identity. This is NOT your identity. Don’t talk over Autistic adults. Listen instead. Remember: Your child is going to be an ADULT SOMEDAY. Wouldn’t; you want them to be able to help others and feel empowered?
Also: don’t expect Autistic adults to be a certain way or to provide endless advice. We don’t owe anyone (especially parents) anything.
If you need more information about this, please visit:
- Why I am not okay with the puzzle piece for Autism: A response & counter thought
- Don’t tone police Autistics
Don’t forget, I have a NEURODIVERSITY PRIDE COLLECTION. There ARE alternatives to the puzzle piece.
A few months ago, a website called “Geeks are Sexy” posted a picture of a autism awareness mask, on their Instagram. The mask featured multicolor jigsaw puzzle pieces all over. I wrote a comment, as I am an autistic person, about how the jigsaw puzzle piece was very misrepresentating of autism, and how it was created by neurotypical people who saw autistic people are “a problem that needs to be solved”. What did they do? Well, they deleted my comment, disable commenting, and edited their post to say that they were parents of an autistic kid, and they won’t be judged over it. Stuff like that. Come to think of it, maybe I shouldn’t have finished my comment with “Thank you, but we hate it.” Yeah, I have that problem with being too honest sometimes. Most people don’t appreciate it. Anyway, that’s all I had to say.
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