I’m monster designer Ra Butler, and to celebrate the month of April and raise awareness about the diversity among individuals on the autism spectrum, I decided to create a group of unique creatures who embody a few of the different strengths and challenges of people with ASD. All of us are different and experience life in our own unique way, so these friendly critters were lovingly crafted to represent that.
Let me introduce you to a figure from the folklore of Japan called the Futakuchi-onna. Her name means “two-mouthed woman,” and she comes from a country facing a crisis of self-care. In fact, at the end of last year, the youth suicide rate in Japan had reached its highest in thirty years.
The stress of a work-centric culture along with a strong stigma against reaching out for mental health care are thought to be major factors for the suicide rates in Japan. Most of us can relate on some level to the fear of those stigmas and the need to appear industrious and ambitious enough. Perhaps then, it is somehow appropriate that we can learn about the dangers and effects of neglecting ourselves through the story of the Futakuchi-onna.
Author’s Note: Hey monster lovers, Ra here! I’ve recently been asked to be a content creator for the blog, The Aspergian. This is such a huge honor for me, and gives me a great new avenue for sharing the message of monster love to more and more people. It’s a blog created by neurodiverse people who I am happy to be one of. So, without further ado, here is my first article, “Forming Myself in Their Image: A Tale of My Shoggoth.”