Fuck Lady Gaga and her wheelchair.
Disabilities are not fucking accessories.
Fetishizing people’s bodies is not okay.
Lady Gaga is and will always be a boring, appropriative piece of shit.
Could you give any advice to authors who want to write disabled characters without Unfortunate Implications? The story I’m working on has a few — but they’re busy having an adventure and most of their drama comes from personal issues that don’t have much to do with them being disabled. (for example, one character is injured in an accident and is an amputee as a result, but their angst comes entirely from the fact that they made a bad decision that got some of their friends killed and now have to live with the guilt. I just realized that realistically, there would be no way they could survive without losing some body parts)
At the same time, their disability isn’t a facet of their character that can be ignored, and I want to strike a good balance between showing how it affects their characterization and not having it be the be-all, end-all of their character.
You seem to be doing a very good job so far, you’re aware and asking questions and that’s great. I’m not sure if you already have, but there are other tumblrs centered around disability education as well and having multiple opinions is great.
My biggest suggestion is that pwd don’t have to be cured. It’s not a realistic stand point, even though many pwd presented in the media are cured or ‘fixed’. A character can be full and well developed without being cured of their condition. However, it seems like you understand all of that. You’re very right in saying that the disability can’t be ignored but it also shouldn’t be their entirety.
If you’re going to show your characters interacting with normal society, and you decide to show some of the hardships they face as a result of their disability just make sure that the people who discriminate against them are displayed in a negative light. They don’t have to be an evil character or even a significant character, but I would just try to make it clear to the reader that this is an inappropriate action. Although, since it sounds like your characters are more on their own and on an adventure this might not be applicable.
Do any of my followers have any suggestions or opinions on this?
** Signal boosting here - reply at source if you have info as requested **
Dating Tip: People in wheelchairs are less likely to run away from you
Dating tip: You’re a creepy, rapist, ableist asshole.
Why I Cannot Accept Ableism
I was not born assertive. I worked my way from meek to shouting at a protest. I was born the most mild-mannered person imaginable. If I had not encountered ableism, I would probably have become an academic, taught English or History, and lived out my days without bothering anyone. The story of the route from then to now will become more public as I have the nerve to contemplate new parts. Personal experience is part of the reason I cannot hold my tongue and tolerate prejudiced comments by a pundit or a donation to Autism Speaks. Beyond the visceral response, I will meet prejudice with anything from gentle correction to overt confrontation. What the offender gets varies case-by-case. What I will never do unless critically low on time and spoons, rarely even then, is ignore it. The stakes are too high.
I cannot leave a dehumanizing word alone when a fellow writer, member of my generation, and apparent nice person appears to be loosing his chance at life because he shares my label. The transplant denial seems to touch on stereotypes that autistics are violent. Within twenty-four hours, a new story of an autistic victim of abuse came out. A man was executed despite an obvious intellectual disability because Texas has a definition thereof both cruel and unusual. A spectator at the Olympics was detained by police. They found him suspicious because he did not smile. Parkinson’s has stiffened his facial muscles. If an autistic person or anyone else of stiff or flat affect had been sitting where he was, the same events would have transpired. This is one day’s news.
The ableist word that elicets a lecture from me may not kill anyone, but the idea, made socially acceptable and allowed to enter the decision-making of all manner of authority figures, plays a part in wrongful, preventable deaths. The assumption that there is one acceptable facial expression per situation is not particularly dangerous in and of itself. In the hands of police, it leads to a random spectator dragged away from a race and detained. It ends a few lives, damages the quality of many more, and sends tendrils of pain out through networks of loved ones. It wounds individuals, families, groups of friends, companies, religious institutions, charity organizations, communities, and society. No, I cannot lay off, shut up, leave well enough alone, or mind my own business. Ableism is the concern of everyone it hurts.
The Intersectionality of Thin Privilege and Disability
[TW: Discussion of ableism, eating disorders, mental illness]
Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts in the thin privilege tag pertaining to ability and perceived ability. A few particular posts attempted to rebuke the idea of thin privilege by pointing out that some chronic illnesses, such as Crohn’s disease, can keep people both visibly thin and severely underweight. While that is true, and certainly not a privilege, I think it stands to be said that there are separations between different kinds of privileges.
Thin privilege and able privilege operate on different axes, which can- and often do- intersect.
Thin and disabled individuals hold certain privileges over fat and disabled individuals. These privileges include:
- Never having to defend your use of mobility devices: When a thin individual makes use of a mobility device (such as a cane, wheelchair, or motor-chair), their use is automatically ascribed to the presence of a disability. Meanwhile, if a fat person makes use of a mobility device, they are either assumed to be lazy or affected by a disability directly caused by their weight.
- Never having to defend the presence of an eating disorder: Yes, this literally happens all the time. When a thin person suffers from an eating disorder, they will often receive medical intervention and undergo recovery without stigma. When a fat person suffers from an eating disorder, their actions are either dismissed or encouraged by medical professionals. This double standard is the child of the idea that ‘thin = healthy’ (which is grossly incorrect), and can prevent fat individuals from seeking help and pursuing recovery altogether.
- Never having to defend the presence of IBS/IBD: Because yes, this happens too. While IBDs like Crohn’s can (and most often does) prevent weight gain, IBS and IBDs like Ulcerative Colitis are less likely to cause dramatic weight-loss. These diseases can (and do) occur in fat people.
- Never having your mental illness ascribed solely to your body: When thin individuals seek help for mental illness, very infrequently are they told that the root of their troubles lies in the fact that they are thin. Fat people, on the other hand, are very frequently dismissed as being depressed due to their body size (and while this may be true, it is even more likely that they would be depressed because of the stigma attached to their body size). There are therapists who insist that the ‘quick fix’ to a fat person’s mental illness is losing weight, while a thin person with the same mental illness would be undergo biological or behavioral therapy.
- Never having a doctor turn down the option of a much-needed medicine because one of the symptoms is ‘weight gain’: When dealing with disabled thin people, doctors quickly seem to realize that the side-effect of weight gain is outweighed by the benefit that the medicine would provide. When dealing with fat people, however, those doctors are just as likely to seek other (less effective) alternatives in favor of adding more weight to the patient. This can result in the unnecessary pain and suffering of fat disabled individuals.
- Not having your disability/illness ascribed to laziness or poor choices: When thin people suffer from diabetes, people often assume that is was genetic (and while it can be, it most certainly does not have to be). Meanwhile, the society loses its mind when fat people suffer from diabetes, despite the fact that fat people can acquire the same types of diabetes as thin people. Fat people are blamed for their ‘bad choices’, while thin people are assumed to have had no choice in the matter.
- Having the trust of the medical community: As a whole, the medical community is pretty distrustful of fat individuals. As a result, doctors are too quick to prescribe ‘weight loss’ when the problem does not stem from weight, and cannot be cured with the loss of such. When doctors question fat people, they are significantly less likely to believe them. This leads to many fat people avoiding treatment altogether, and suffering instead.
This is by no means an exhaustive list; This is just what comes to mind as a fat disabled person. Able-bodied privilege in the fat community does not erase the fact that thin-privilege can exist alongside the absence of able-bodied privilege. They are two different privileges, neither of which are mutually exclusive.
And we have to have the means to say no forcefully, even rudely. We need to be able to use cuss words, even if we have the kind of personality that would never use them. Sometimes the only reason that we appear unnaturally even-tempered is because we’ve never been allowed to be otherwise. We have the right to say fuck off, but people don’t always give us the ability to do so.
Of course, even if we say things like that, there’s no guarantee anyone will listen. Some people’s reactions when I get mad, remind me of the way people giggle at my cat when she swipes someone who touched her in a way that hurts her. It’s like she and I aren’t real enough to them, so our anger is cute and funny. Communication page I used to handle that invasive woman I met. « Ballastexistenz (via sinshine)
How to Easily Promote the Reddit Petition on Facebook
If anybody is willing to send messages to their friends through a private message, I wrote a short and sweet text you could use!
Okay, yes, this is a generic, mass message, but for good reason!
I’m working on promoting a petition at Change.org, and would be really grateful if you took two seconds to check it out and sign. That’s it!
We’re trying to get the Reddit administration to take down some really sickening subbreddits, that are devoted to promoting things like sexually brutalizing and raping women.
Here’s the link to the petition: http://goo.gl/HjPsp
I hope you’ll sign!
All you have to do is pass it along, and believe it or not, that could do a lot! :-)