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Wednesday Addams and Autistic Representation in Media

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

If you haven't watched Wednesday on Netflix yet, what are you even doing with your life? Kidding (mostly).

Photo of laptop with Netflix displayed.

My sister and I binged this eight part series in two consecutive nights. Is it a little "typical teenager coming of age''? Yes. However, it's rare the autistic community gets to see themselves represented in media - and in such a popular piece of media at that.

Growing up undiagnosed there weren't many people or characters I could truly relate to. Temperance Brennan from the TV show Bones, was the only one I truly connected to. I appreciated her bluntness, her analytical mind, and the fact that the other characters loved her anyway. I related wholeheartedly to Bones and still do.

Wednesday Addams in this Netflix adaptation is now the second character on this list. It's not often I can see so much of myself reflected back to me.

Wednesday is blunt. She has a dark sense of humor. She cares more than she is able to express. She's intelligent and analytical. She's even a writer like I am. I admire her quick wit, how she sees the world in black and white, and how even with such a dark and morbid outlook on life she still tries to do the right thing and fights for what she believes in. She never once apologizes for who she is. Even Enid learns how to set boundaries from Wednesday.

While I am still working on unmasking and learning to not apologize for who I am, Wednesday definitely resembles a version of myself I'd like to be.

In the future I'd like to see more female autistic characters in the media. More brown and black autistics or gender nonconforming autistics. But I'd also like to see how other characters interact with these individuals.

Enid and Wednesday have their initial disagreements, but Enid is never truly hateful towards her and is generally very accepting. The other characters find her annoying, even frustrating, but they aren't outright hostile. As someone who struggles making and maintaining relationships of any kind, I'd like to see a more realistic progression of a relationship.

Many autistics are "othered." We're the outcasts. And like Wednesday even in a school full of "people just like her," she still finds herself as the odd one out. So, where are the characters that don't like her, that can't understand her? Where are the characters that don't understand her at first, but slowly learn to?

In my personal life, getting my diagnosis has allowed my family to understand me better, and thus support me in better ways. We can have completely open, blunt conversations, and just say things as they are because they know that's what I need, and on more than a few occasions, they need it too.

I don't know, I'm just really fascinated by this concept of learning to understand and accept someone, despite them being so different from you. To be this outcast and yet still find a tribe of people that loves you exactly as you are. I think many people, autistic or not, can relate to this. We're always looking for our found families.

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