My Glamour Magazine Grumble

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I’m not throwing shade at Glamour magazine specifically, but I’m REALLY TIRED of the whole “inclusion” sitch, since it’s not totally accurate. All I’ve been hearing about are gay rights, race issues, gender equality and immigrants, but disabilities? Asperger’s? Nothing. New York City started their disabilities parade a couple years back, but hat didn’t get nearly the same amount of news coverage as the Women’s march or the gay pride parade.

For the past couple of years, I’ve approached companies asking to help me raise awareness, and to adjust their stores so they would be Asperger friendly (meaning: No awful lighting, loud music, etc) and they’ve given me the run around with generic emails, or no feedback at all, and this totally sucks. Meanwhile, some places included gender neutral bathrooms and recently H&M gave a public statement apologizing for a racially offensive T-shirt. Mmmkay. I see where society’s priorities lie…

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“The Beguiled” A movie review you won’t get from me since I won’t see it

I’m tired of race controversy with TV and films. I wasn’t around in 1971, so I found out online that “The Beguiled” starring Nicole Kidman, was not only a remake, but also had two Black female characters removed from the story (which was originally a book). I mean, Sofia Coppola can do what she wants as a director but damn, would it kill her to get out of her comfort zone? She reminds me of Woody Allen.

It’s annoying that it’s 2017 and people are still talking about this. Even now there’s a marathon for ‘Younger” (a show I used to watch until they stopped airing it on TVland.com) playing in Williamsburg (a mostly White neighborhood) to raise $ for The Joyful Heart Foundation, but that’s not a ‘racially diverse’ show either. I don’t want to be that person who has to second guess every move I make for political reasons. Nobody should have to live like that.

Representation of Asperger’s is similar to the entertainment industry. How many people of color are mentioned by the media when it comes to Autism? (Besides me.)

I’m starting a campaign to raise awareness for Asperger’s. It’s unusual, but I wouldn’t go about it any other way. I will give updates on this and whoever wants to help out feel free to contact me.

 

 

H&M: Hits and Misses

I’m watching a clip on H&M.com with superstar fashion blogger Leandra Medine, founder of Man Repeller.

http://www.hm.com/us/magazine/culture/h-m-inside/2016/09/man-repeller-shares-her-best-advice

She interviewed three other influential bloggers whom I’ve never heard of until today, which is fine, I draw comics, I’m not up on fashion as much as I’d like to be. One of the reasons, which is a secret to no one, is that I hate shopping! It’s tough for me to obtain personal style if I’m bombarded by sensory issues. Putting together a basic outfit- never mind a ‘statement’-takes a crap load of energy, patience, time, and (of course) money.

How am I supposed to “have fun with clothes” if the store’s crowded, background music is blasting my brains out, or I’m overwhelmed by fragrances?  The only time I can “be honest and authentic” is after I’m reminded, once again, that I HAVE ASPERGER’S!  I can’t shop under these conditions!

I needed new jeans, so I rolled up to H&M in the Flatiron District. I found a cool pair, scooped up a bunch of other stuff and hurried to the fitting room. But then I got ambushed by a really strong scent! Practically an assault- I didn’t smell it any where else in the store!

Like a dope in denial, I thought “Maybe it came from just one customer” (it’s happened before) so I proceeded to the very last stall. Big mistake. Within minutes, this crap got more intense. I couldn’t fight my urge to flee anymore, this stuff was making me legit sick! I felt dizzy, disoriented, like I had been trapped in a scented gas chamber. I pushed back the curtain and stumbled out. A couple of feet away, I watched an employee spray chemicals from a small aerosol can directly into the stalls. Nice move, dude. >:-(

At the register, I explained to a manager what happened. Even though he apologized, he wasn’t exactly helpful. He claimed he would ask the employee “not to use so much next time”, but what good is that? This area has no ventilation! AND they do this at all of their stores!

“Can you use something environmentally safe?” I wanted to know. He claimed that corporate (whoever they are) gives them only two scents. He wrote down a number I could call, but c’mon, man, it’s not 1996. I didn’t even bother, probably a recording….

Hey, I’m not saying that blogging will make a big difference, either, but either way H&M and other stores, need to address the needs of different types of customers.

I visited H&M’s website, specifically where they stand on being conscious:

Caring about chemicals

From helping us grow more cotton on less land, to softening fibres, to cleaning clothes with less water, chemicals are an incredibly useful resource. And most of them, used correctly, are completely harmless. However, some chemicals can be harmful to people or nature. We’re committed to finding ways to use them less, and continuously replace them with better alternatives.

Source:

http://about.hm.com/en/About/sustainability/commitments/natural-resources.html

“One of the biggest challenges people face coming up in this blogosphere now is that there are so many voices to cut through.”-Leandra Medine

Challenge accepted!

 

Harmon Drugstore Checkout

Last time on Asperger Armor…

David, manager at Harmon Drugstore: “Bring your friends and have a look around the store.”

Me: “Great! I will!”

Just one problem: Who would care? I’m a member of Felicity House, an all-women Asperger’s group, but that was no guarantee I’d find anyone to check out Harmon with me. These chicks have jobs and grad school-busy lives, duh! But I asked around anyway.

First responses were hesitant, lukewarm, but I’m persistent. Once my mind’s set on a goal I don’t let nothing stop me! Besides, I couldn’t do this alone. I can’t represent everyone on the spectrum, all our symptoms are different in some way or another.

One week later, F.H had a rooftop gathering. Most of the members would be there, I could ask around in one shot! Terrific! But the weather was brutal, and I felt wiped out. It took more effort than usual, mingling …

Fortunately, Francie and Darla weren’t fazed by the humidity. “Let’s go there after the party,” Francie said. Whoo! Mission accomplished!

From the jump, Francie noticed this:

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No big deal, right? But Francie said the fan causes the lights to flicker and disturb someone with sensory issues, maybe even make them not want to enter the store! Good thing she came, because this didn’t affect me at all!

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These glaring numbers at the register gave Darla a headache…

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And we all agreed the dim lights in the cleaning and cosmetics section could be a strain on our eyes. On the upside…

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Those heavily scented products? Off in a corner in the back -away from our sensitive noses! Major points here! We also appreciated the wide aisles (the less people we bump into the better), the music playing at a tolerable level and the bathrooms are one (clean) stall per person.

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My personal peeves were the beeping scanners (they distract and irritate me), loud walkie talkies (it’s 2016! Can’t the employees just text each other?) and the kiosk with the commercial playing non-stop. But on a recent visit I noticed it was turned off. Could this mean  our friendly manager had made an effort? If so, great! It’s a start…

 

The New “A Team”: Part 1

So we’ve all heard about the new “Ghostbusters” movie, the one starring all women, which is a big deal because, well, it’s all women. Apparently, that’s all it takes to get people interested! They’re on the cover of Entertainment Weekly…I’ll get around to reading it.

Anyway, there’s also a new “A Team” in town, all female soldiers of fortune out to make New York City a better place for people with on the autism spectrum (or at the very least, tolerable). We’re a small army of Aspies-me, Francie, and Darla (their names are changed for privacy-all the more mysterious-LOL).

Our recent mission: getting our investigation on at Harmon Face Values, a discount health and beauty store on 6th Avenue. One afternoon I tried to choose a new nail color but the background noise, as we say in Brooklyn, was mad annoying! I covered my ears, cringing.

“You look overwhelmed!” I heard a salesman say. Uh, yeah, there’s some commercial playing in the kiosk, ON REPEAT, screwing up my concentration! I’m ready to bounce! I didn’t expect him to do anything-I’ve complained about stores before-but this dude stepped up his game. Michael is not just a sales guy, he’s Harmon’s makeup artist who brought over Charisma, the store’s manager. Neither of them had the nasty attitude I anticipated, even after I described my Asperger’s symptoms. They both said they look out for customers with all kinds of disabilities and I could post a comment on their website. Oookayy, but I wanted to talk to someone face to face (Yeah, I see the irony.)

I got my wish: Michael Kratzel, the regional manager, rolled up to say hello. M and C introduced us and I gave him the run down. Turns out Michael has some idea of Asperger’s, one of his relatives is on the spectrum, and he’s participated in walks for A.S. Whoo! Jackpot! Michael welcomed me and some friends to come back to the store and point out what needs improvement.

Part 2: coming soon…

 

“Sick” of Talking

Gallery

This gallery contains 7 photos.

  Andrea gets a cold and loses her voice, but she gains a break from making small talk with strangers. Most women know the pressure of being vocally accommodating when we don’t feel like it, but for Andrea, who has … Continue reading