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Was Tara on the autistic spectrum or something? (Serious question)

Buffy Summers

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Maybe there are other words that the most elite of us decide are better to use, but personally, I have no problem with how it has been used in this thread.
It has absolutely nothing to do with being "educated" or not, or being "elite" or not. Remember that you may be okay with that word, but others on here (with autism or other conditions) are not. We are a large-ish community, and need to be more respectful in a way that you may not need to be in a smaller group. (Though I still don't personally think using the word "retarded" to describe a person with intellectual disabilities is an appropriate thing to do.)
 

WillowFromBuffy

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I want to reiterate that I think Amber does a pretty spot on impression of someone with an actual speech disorder, rather than someone that merely stutter when they are anxious or stressed (or on drugs). It is more debilitating that you would think. It affects you in a lot of ways. Your intonation goes off, which can make your speech sound stilted and artificial, and your body can tense as you try to force the words out. The trick is merely to stop speaking and take a second's break, but it can be hard to do when your stressed, because speech is such an automatic thing. It's like typing. You don't will your fingers to hit each individual key in time. They just sorta move by themselves.

Doyle stutters, but he probably doesn't have a underlying disorder. He doesn't get the same blocks Tara gets. He probably just talks to fast when he's excited.
 
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Spanky

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Though I still don't personally think using the word "retarded" to describe a person with intellectual disabilities is an appropriate thing to do.
But it's appropriate in this case. She didn't have a disability (and it certainly wasn't intellectual) but she was retarded socially. That's why the other girls in the wiccan class made fun of her.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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But it's appropriate in this case. She didn't have a disability (and it certainly wasn't intellectual) but she was retarded socially. That's why the other girls in the wiccan class made fun of her.
Just because she didn't fit in, doesn't mean she is in any sense retarded. That implies that she has stagnated and is somehow underdeveloped. You could say she is socially maladapted, but that is a very different thing.
 

Octavia

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It has absolutely nothing to do with being "educated" or not, or being "elite" or not. Remember that you may be okay with that word, but others on here (with autism or other conditions) are not. We are a large-ish community, and need to be more respectful in a way that you may not need to be in a smaller group. (Though I still don't personally think using the word "retarded" to describe a person with intellectual disabilities is an appropriate thing to do.)
Retardation was still used as a medical definition within the last 20 years. It is still used in some countries for this. It was used on medical forms within the last 10 years in the line of work I was in. If one is not told it is unsuitable then they would be considered uneducated on the topic - not in the school system sense but in the sense that they do not know better. Its only the top of the top deciding which words are most appropriate for the masses to use online. This is easily observable. This is what I meant.

Tara did act like there was something off with her. Shyness of that degree would be diagnosable today.
 

Buffy Summers

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But here we were not using retardation (in the thread title) as a medical term. It was being used with a negative connotation. Using it as a medical condition would be "Does Tara suffer from mental retardation?"

But is it really too much to ask to not use a term that so many find demeaning? We wouldn't allow a thread title that said, "Was Andrew a homo or something?"

If anyone would like to discuss our reasons for moderating this thread title further, please feel free to post in the help forum or reach out via pm.
 
Cohen
Cohen
Well put. There’s a time for using negative slurs. In your home, in private, away from a community of people. Go hog wild. When we are communing with people of various diversities, we should refrain from the negative slurs.
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2. I'm not some bigot who thinks all homos are sexually abused. I'm a gay male, myself! And no, I wasn't abused a child nor believe that abuse leads to homosexuality (like come on, who does?). I simply just stated that Tara could have maybe (and I used italics to stress the word, maybe) been abused by a male in her past, leading to her inclination towards females. She seems very skittish and "dont touch me" with how she dresses and covers herself up which is a sign of someone who's been abused, gay or not.
Maybe but maybe not. I've never been abused at any point in my life and have had a happy childhood. I developed anxiety quite badly and along with that, haphepobia (fear of people touching you and touching others), also due to anxiety, I cover myself up all the time even when it's boiling. It doesn't mean she was abused, but it is possible especially because her father does seem to be the type to abuse someone.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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You don't think she was underdeveloped socially before meeting Willow? To me it was evident.
Well, either she had a metaphorical growth spurt after meeting Willow or after "Family," or maybe she just found a new social environment that looked past her awkwardness and learned to appreciate her penchant for empathy and social acuity.

We all find it easier to integrate into certain groups than we do others. It's not because we retarded. We're just different. A person who is well liked in the church choir may have a hard time joining the local criminal biker gang.
 
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@WillowFromBuffy
...I think Amber does a pretty spot on impression of someone with an actual speech disorder, rather than someone that merely stutter when they are anxious or stressed (or on drugs). It is more debilitating that you would think. It affects you in a lot of ways. Your intonation goes off, which can make your speech sound stilted and artificial, and your body can tense as you try to force the words out. The trick is merely to stop speaking and take a second's break, but it can be hard to do when your stressed, because speech is such an automatic thing. It's like typing. You don't will your fingers to hit each individual key in time. They just sorta move by themselves.

Doyle stutters, but he probably doesn't have a underlying disorder. He doesn't get the same blocks Tara gets. He probably just talks to fast when he's excited.
((Sorry, I dont know how to quote yet on this forum xD ))

But this goes with what I've been saying all along. It's like Amber Benson is purposely acting like someone with a disorder! Thats' the vibe I've been getting from Tara ever since I FIRST saw her in whichever episode of Buffy it was years and years ago. Up to the moment when she was killed, she always acted a little off, whether she was in the company of trusted friends or complete strangers. The way her face made little tweaks and how her hands move, it's very....autistic like or something like that. But saying that she's trying to emulate someone with a speech disorder also hits the nail on the head to how her behavior is. You guys willjust have to watch Tara very closely on your Buffy rewatches to get what I'm really trying to say. You will see what I am talking about.
 
Buffy Summers
Buffy Summers
Hit Reply in the lower right of the post, and it will auto quote the post. :)
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@Buffy Summers

Now that you mention it, I remember something about Glory doing something to her. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled when I rewatch those episodes later! You might be on to something. Like I've said, it's been years since I've seen Buffy S5+. We'll definitely have to revist this topic once I rewatch those eps. I'm binging like crazy so it'll probably be in 2 days or so xD rewathcing 4x20 now.

And thanks for the tip! haha I see the quotes now.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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@WillowFromBuffy

((Sorry, I dont know how to quote yet on this forum xD ))

But this goes with what I've been saying all along. It's like Amber Benson is purposely acting like someone with a disorder! Thats' the vibe I've been getting from Tara ever since I FIRST saw her in whichever episode of Buffy it was years and years ago. Up to the moment when she was killed, she always acted a little off, whether she was in the company of trusted friends or complete strangers. The way her face made little tweaks and how her hands move, it's very....autistic like or something like that. But saying that she's trying to emulate someone with a speech disorder also hits the nail on the head to how her behavior is. You guys willjust have to watch Tara very closely on your Buffy rewatches to get what I'm really trying to say. You will see what I am talking about.
A stutter and autism are both disorders with a neurological basis. But they couldn't be more different.

If someone avoids eye contact and have little tics, then they may autism. But it is much more likely that they don't. Autism has a variety of symptoms. Some are central to the diagnosis. Others are more peripheral and less common.

You can't just look at someone who are just a little bit off and say that they probably have a stutter, PTSD or autism or something. Autism and PTSD significant conditions, and they have nothing to do with each other.

I can't see anything in Tara that suggests she has autism. She does not have PTSD. To get a PTSD diagnosis, you must be unable to function in social and professional settings for more than a month. Tara functions just fine. She goes to her classes everyday and seems to be a good student. She has perfectly able to form relationships.

And as others have pointed out, Tara's anxiety is highly circumstantial. In S4, she has just escaped her abusive family. After confronting said family, her anxiety improves significantly.

Tara tells the Scoobies she acted out after her mother died. That is well within what is considered a normal response to grief.
 

TriBel

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@PatrickHalliwel I think you're looking for more clarity than you're going to get. Tara has a narrative function as Willow's girlfriend but she also has a textual function as trope, perhaps she alludes to myth. Tara = Terra (which is how they pronounce it) = Gaia = mythic earth-mother (Willow's studying Gaia in Lessons S7). Earth is also conveyed by her surname McClay (son of? Clay). As clay, she's malleable by others. If it is that Tara alludes to "the mother" in some form (and "mummy issues" are just as important in BtVS as "daddy issues - Holden Webster's an idiot), I wouldn't anticipate seeing the "mother's body" (cw Buffy pulling Joyce's skirt down in The Body) - it's taboo. It's the reason Perseus kills Medusa by using the reflection in his polished shield. If I go any further I become too enmeshed in theory. Tara's speech problems tie in quite nicely with the idea that the female voice is silenced by patriarchy - hence we see The Guardian in S7 silenced by the severe patriarch Caleb moments after her story's told. The message about the Scythe is doubly coded (Latin written in Greek) and hidden behind a statue of the Holy Mother. I don't think it's coincidence that Tara's associated with "bodies" and Willow's biological mother is "mind/intellect". The Glory intervention's interesting.

For me, in terms of textual analysis, this is far more useful than whether Tara has autism. Autism, particularly if it's "high-functioning" is simply a different perspective on the world. Different perspectives are a feature of S7.
 
PatrickHalliwel
PatrickHalliwel
Yes! This is the exact kind of analysis I'm looking for! We can definitely touch base on this once I catch up. Love the way you think.
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You can't just look at someone who are just a little bit off and say that they probably have a stutter, PTSD or autism or something. Autism and PTSD significant conditions, and they have nothing to do with each other.

I can't see anything in Tara that suggests she has autism. She does not have PTSD. To get a PTSD diagnosis, you must be unable to function in social and professional settings for more than a month. Tara functions just fine. She goes to her classes everyday and seems to be a good student. She has perfectly able to form relationships.

And as others have pointed out, Tara's anxiety is highly circumstantial. In S4, she has just escaped her abusive family. After confronting said family, her anxiety improves significantly.
I'm not diagnosing the girl, just think there IS something there to diagnose. The difference between PTSD, austism, stutter, etc... really aren't a factor. What I'm suggesting is that Tara has 'something', whatever it may be. I just wanted more input before I continue rewatching to fresh my own memory of her. I'm ending season 4 now. Most of what I remember of Tara is from later seasons, so now I'll have a more rounded out perspective when I get to S5 now.

Also, when do they mention her family? I remember her already mentioning her mother being a witch in S4. Did she already talk about her father, did I miss it? Or is that later in the series? I just want to make sure in case I didn't miss it.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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Also, when do they mention her family? I remember her already mentioning her mother being a witch in S4. Did she already talk about her father, did I miss it? Or is that later in the series? I just want to make sure in case I didn't miss it.
She talks about her family a fair deal, but it is spread out across the three seasons. There is an episode in S5 called "Family" where we meet her father, brother and lovely cousin Beth. After that episode, Tara becomes a fully accepted member of the Scooby gang and her anxiety and her tics abate as a result.
 
TriBel
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A thump on the nose cures tics...who'd have thought it! :)
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For those of you who came here to personally attack me, please try to stay on topic. I actually love the Buffy verse and analyzing characters. I truly think Tara makes more sense if she was on the spectrum of autism (there are different levels), or had some kind of PTSD or something as a child to make her how she was.
Don't worry, you're not alone. We're keeping an eye out for you. ❤

As for Tara, yes...the first impression I got was that she totally rode the short bus. And after Glory sucked her brain, I was like, "Hey, not a big difference!" 😅

I love Tara. Really. But initially, that girl belonged in a Jerry Lewis telethon.
 
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Don't worry, you're not alone. We're keeping an eye out for you. ❤

As for Tara, yes...the first impression I got was that she totally rode the short bus. And after Glory sucked her brain, I was like, "Hey, not a big difference!" 😅

I love Tara. Really. But initially, that girl belonged in a Jerry Lewis telethon.
LMFAO you just made me both smile and laugh out loud. Nice to know that I'm not the only one who got that impression from her. I love her too. She has a real mature look to her, like she can see your soul and understand your struggles. Just the way she acts outwardly (in beginning) is a different story. Guess it's just one of those things us fans have to figure out for ourselves.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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@TriBel Maybe hitting yourself in the face would make you not have autism anymore. Don't do it, though. It could rob you of your love for literary structures and patterns.
 
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