Inspirational Cripple Porn…

Inspirtional Cripple Porn:  When people with disabilities take part in normal, day-to-day activities, and are held up by able bodied people (ABs) as an “inspiration.”  Basically the idea is that if a person in a wheelchair/missing a limb/vision loss/deaf/etc can overcome their illness/disability, then anyone can.  And also, the person seeing such an image or description should get off their rears and do more with their lives.  The word “cripple” is used purposefully because such images/sayings are generally condescending and do not respect the PWD as a person, but instead reduces them to an object to be used.

 

Here is why most people in the Disability Community hate it…  

  • First, we usually have not “overcome” a thing.  In fact, many of us PWDs hate that word.  
  • Second, we are not here to inspire you – we are not a Hallmark card.  Our disability does not render us incapable of doing all the things an AB can do.  Sometimes we do them differently, but we can do just about anything.  
  • Third, most of those images you see floating around the internet were NOT taken with the person’s permission.  That is just creepy.  
  • Fourth, when PWDs are viewed like that, it is almost always with pity.  It was just assumed we were too broken to do something, and the “attaboys” and the “Good for yous” we get for something as simple as going to Disneyland are condescending and rude.  This rudeness is often excused, saying that the AB meant well.  I seem to recall a saying about the road to Hell beginning like that…

 

Today on the NBCNews website there is a story about a woman somewhere in Ohio who was in an accident that left her paralyzed.  Her dream – to walk down the aisle.  And, though what I am certain was a lot of work and determination, she did so, with the help of two people on either side of her and a walker at the altar.   I am very happy for her – I too made a point of standing and walking down the aisle at my wedding, even though we knew that I would likely use a wheelchair for most things from that point on.

 

I am in no way belittling her goal or her struggle and work to get there.  I understand why not needing someone to wheel you down the aisle is important.  What annoyed me is that is was a news story.  And people from all over the country donated time, money, equipment, and even catering all the way from LA for her wedding.  

 

Would this have happened if she were able bodied?  Would she have had people from all over the country trying to help her have a great wedding?  I highly doubt it.  This whole thing was because she was paralyzed.  And then people made a news story out of it, so the whole country could feel good about themselves, basically feeling charitable vicariously through the people who donated to the wedding efforts.

 

I get told I am inspirational all the time.  I use a wheelchair full time and I go to Disneyland by myself.  At least a dozen times I can remember people have told me I was inspirational, courageous, brave, or some other pointless adjective.  I went to Disneyland by myself.  Lots of people do that.  The only reason I am “courageous” is because I have wheels under my butt.  Other people who go to Disneyland by themselves certainly do not get stopped to hear how courageous they are.  I always smile and turn away, as I am not certain I would remain polite in my responses.  It is Disneyland after all…

 

I am not a Hallmark card.  I am not here to inspire ABs to go to the gym, follow their dream, spend more time with their children, live healthier, enjoy the “little things” in life, or whatever other platitude they come up with.  Even when people are trying to be nice, or at least clever about it, they still come off sounding like idiots.  For example, in order to not “talk down to me” they tell me “Wow, you really are good at using that wheelchair.”  Really?  That is the best you can do?

 

Every time I get a stupid comment like that I think back to an old CSI episode, where someone was murdered at the Little People of America (LPA) convention in Las Vegas.  Gil, in an effort to not tell the Little Person (woman who he was flirting with) she was doing such a good job, considering her disability, remarks “I was admiring your reaching tool.”  She responds “I have one I use to wipe my tush with, would you like to see that one?”

 

This is much the same attitude I take (in my head whenever I can).  When I must respond, I use what my wife always says – “Of course we are good at it – this is our life.”  And that is exactly what it is – our life.

 

At some point I will probably launch my own Inspirational Cripple Porn parody, with quotes about how courageous I am putting on socks, going to Target, going to Disneyland, and even going potty all by myself.

 

There really are some inspirational stories out there, and a bride working non-stop and figuring out any way possible to walk down the aisle is one of them.  That still does not make it news, and what was once a really good story was swiftly turned into inspiration porn by AB commentary on the clip I watch.

 

Congratulations on both your wedding and your achievement to the woman in Ohio!

 

To the rest of the world, before you retweet or reblog an image of a person with a disability doing something that average able bodied people can easily do, think about why you want to share it (and whether the PWD even knows the photo is out there).  Are you sharing it because it is something actually awesome (wheelchair surfers, a Little Person who is a NICU pediatric specialist, I’ve even seen someone skydive in a wheelchair!), or because it makes YOU feel better?  

 

I am not a Hallmark card, and I am not here to make you feel better about yourself.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s