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Autism and GenderFrom Refrigerator Mothers to Computer Geeks$
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Jordynn Jack

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038372

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038372.001.0001

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Rehearsing Gender

Rehearsing Gender

Autism Dads

Chapter:
(p.154) Chapter 4 Rehearsing Gender
Source:
Autism and Gender
Author(s):

Jordynn Jack

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252038372.003.0005

This chapter discusses “autism dads” who write about their children. By analyzing memoirs written by several fathers of autistic children, it shows how fathers rehearse topoi related to fatherhood, masculinity, the family as an institution, and their professional or disciplinary identities in order to rhetorically constitute roles for themselves. In order to constitute this character, fathers must sometimes reject or revise other characters grounded in the commonplaces of hegemonic masculinity that emphasize male strength, success, and power and adopt new topoi of fatherhood. However, although fathers refigure available characterizations of fatherhood, few reject that role entirely. Whereas narratives written by mothers tend to take on a quest for recovery, narratives written by fathers tend to take on a quest for understanding—not simply of the child in question but of the father's own character and identity.

Keywords:   autism, dads, fatherhood, masculinity, autistic children

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