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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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Performing Gender

Performing Gender

Mother Warriors

(p.64) Chapter 2 Performing Gender
Autism and Gender

Jordynn Jack

University of Illinois Press

This chapter deals with individuals' performance of gendered characters in more recent debates about vaccines and autism. Mothers engaged in these debates perform traditional feminine characters in order to claim epistemic authority over their children's diagnosis and treatment and to argue against the scientific establishment, using character as an element of conformation, or as support for a cause. Thus, mothers who actively argue for increased research funding or for specific theories of autism's etiology draw on topoi of experiential knowledge, caregiving, and maternal instinct, sometimes embracing the character of mother warrior or autism mother. They are countered by experts, most often males, who take on the character of the good doctor or father figure to argue against the vaccine theory.

Keywords:   vaccines, traditional female, mother warrior, autism mother, good doctor, vaccine theory

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