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What Symmetra means to me as a female on the autistic spectrum

Discussion in 'Autism Spectrum News, Events and Research' started by AGXStarseed, Oct 19, 2017.

  1. AGXStarseed

    AGXStarseed Well-Known Member

    Jun 13, 2013
    (Not written by me)

    Symmetra – a different kind of role model

    A reader explains why the Overwatch character Symmetra has struck a chord with her, and praises the positive portrayal of autism.

    Overwatch has taken the genre of first person shooters by storm since it burst into our lives last year.

    I love that the developers have a wide variety of representations of characters in Overwatch, such as Tracer being queer and characters from various ethnicities and backgrounds.

    With an array of loveable characters, all diverse and possessing their own unique abilities, there was a character that stood out for me the most.

    That character was Symmetra, a beautiful Indian architect. But later on, I found myself unexpectedly connecting with her on a more personal and emotional level after reader the comic Symmetra: A Better World, which is an origin story.

    In the comic, it is revealed that everyone has always said she is different and she is asked where she fits on the spectrum.

    After a marathon Overwatch session, I read an article about the creator confirming that Symmetra is indeed on the autistic spectrum.

    Here’s some background on autism. Autism is a long-term neurological condition which affects an individual’s ability to socially interact and form relationships and perceive the world around them. It’s something that is individualised and affects each person differently.

    As a long-time fan of video games, I have always been drawn to all of these stunning female characters who are also deadly and can kick some serious ass. In particular, Lara Croft, Kitana from the Mortal Kombat franchise, and a lot of female characters from SoulCalibur, like Sophitia, were among my favourites.

    But this time it was a lot different. I found myself becoming extremely emotionally invested in Symmetra’s character arc.

    Gaming is a common past time for many people on the autistic spectrum, myself included. As someone who’s always found it difficult to relate to others, it was a relief for me to discover a female autistic character in a video game. Especially in a hugely popular, global billion-dollar franchise like Overwatch.

    Even though the actual game itself is a competitive, online multiplayer game that offers nothing in terms of story, I find it extremely empowering to see another woman of colour in a video game with autism.

    The fact that there is no story mode in Overwatch makes it better, so perhaps people will focus more on Symmetra’s capabilities and what she can offer.

    I genuinely hope that from this exposure, people will only recognise her autism as a small part of who she is. And that’s what we need to work towards: recognising that just because someone has autism, it doesn’t mean they can’t achieve anything or be who they want to be. At the end of the day, autism and Asperger’s is no reason for someone to limit themselves.

    Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome is something that most people are aware of, but it is still at a point where it is not yet normalised or mainstream. But I think we are on the right track as it’s especially uncommon in gaming.

    I’m glad that it’s not something stereotypical like many representations of autism in the mainstream.

    There needs to be that focus on getting that balance just right – showing how capable they are but also realistically highlighting the struggles they go through, and dealing with it in a sympathetic and uplifting way. Lots of people reading this will possibly be on the autistic spectrum and will be able to identify with it in one way or another.

    It’s so refreshing to me to see a character like this in a game, and I really hope this gets to be explored more.

    Autism hasn’t had the best time in the world of gaming. This is not only a step forward for the world of gaming, but a step forward for the world in general. Having autism isn’t a bad thing. Getting people to understand it is the hardest part.

    By reader Laura Francis

    Source: What Symmetra means to me as a female on the autistic spectrum | Metro News
  2. DiverseWonderland

    DiverseWonderland I can do anything!

    Sep 12, 2018
    Even if it's not the "Best" Representation I still like Symmetra and like that it was conformed for her to have autism.
  3. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Jan 7, 2015
    Never played the game but like the idea.