I saw an advert today for leggings to raise awareness of autism! The leggings were patterned with multi coloured jigsaw pieces. By wearing these leggings I am told by the advert that I am raising awareness of autism. For the bargain price of $54.89 I can have the privilege of wearing to the gym something that my daughter would have loved when she was five.
These leggings, according to the advert are “the best gift for men, husband, girl, woman, wife, bestie or people who have Autism Children to share their feeling”. I am not entirely against men in leggings but feel that a well known cause, other than autism awareness, would more likely be conjured up by the image of a man wearing rainbow coloured gym leggings. I also have no clue how a pair of leggings will show people my feeling(s).
These leggings, the advert tells me are “great for Birthday gifts, Independence Gifts, Christmas gifts, Woman’s day gifts, Valentine gifts, Anniversary gifts or any special occasion.” I, for once have no words other than I hope my crush sees the funny side when I get him some for valentines day.
The question the advert asked me, in its round about language, is this: “Would you want to dress this Inspirational Autism Leggings Full Printed to raise Awareness??”
My answer, well, no! I no more want to dress in a pair of leggings that look like they belong in a nursery classroom, than I want to be seen advocating that a multi coloured jigsaw raises awareness of autism.
You see, the missing piece of jigsaw, commonly used as a symbol of autism confuses me a lot. A jigsaw, all nicely put together, fitting in and working with a missing piece that isn’t part of that jigsaw, that is the wrong colour and doesn’t fit in is what the image conjures up to me. I completely disagree that any autistic person should be made to feel like they don’t fit in, like society works so well without them or that they are missing from society.
Maybe I could look on the puzzle piece as a symbol of everyone being different but all fitting together to achieve a whole, but then why is the autistic puzzle piece not sat in the jigsaw with the rest of them? Why is a neurotypical person not described as a puzzle piece. I have too many questions but at the end of the day I think all autistic people should be included in society. Schools should adapt, shops should adapt, the world should be more accepting and adapt so that autistic children and adults can feel like they are an important part of society. So they can fit in.
Will wearing multi coloured leggings achieve this? Probably not. Will it achieve autism acceptance, again probably not. Will wearing multi coloured and very expensive leggings raise awareness of autism? I really don’t think so and to be honest I can think of better things to spend $54.89 on, such as another new iPad screen to replace the smashed one.
Intriguingly, the advert also states that people who have bought autism awareness leggings have also bought “Amazing sugar skull full printed leggings” and “Elegant mermaid scale full printed leggings”. Oh, and autism awareness car seat covers, whatever they are.
Obviously everything I have written in this post is my own thinking, a little tongue in cheek and not meant to cause offence to any well meaning legging wearers. I promise I will not judge you when I see you at the gym in autism awareness leggings.
Can leggings raise awareness? Would you wear them? Love them or hate them? Let us know in the comments!
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