A collection of disability-related articles and blog posts I read last week, but didn’t have a chance to link to or discuss. It’s an opportunity to catch up with some of the good stuff that’s out there, but doesn’t fit neatly into the week's “big stories.”
I had a busy week of Actual Life activities, so my blogging, tweeting, and browsing were on the low side.
I have almost reached the saturation point on discussing “Inspiration Porn,” and I’m not sure how effective we are at explaining it to he average non-disabled observer. This article does a pretty good job of it, focusing on the idea that disabled people simply being in media isn’t enough. It makes a difference how we appear and what the messages are.
This kind of situation complicates how many disabled people view advances in technology and treatment of disabilities. A better prosthetic hand, or a more effective hand transplant, can be a real tool for greater independence. On the other hand, these improvements are too often seen and portrayed as cure-alls for stigma and low self-esteem, rather than actual impairments. In any case, it is heartbreaking to read another story of a disabled person growing up with such intense self-loathing. I know it’s very common, and it deserves to be acknowledged and discussed, but somehow these articles rarely question the stigma and loathing themselves. They take for granted that the disabilities are, objectively, horrible and loathsome. How about an article about a kid born without a hand who grows up hating how he looks, and later accepting it and building self-worth … without an awesome new device or miracle surgery?
Here are two very different articles, covering the same basic topic from two very different angles. It’s interesting how disable people who rely for everyday assistance on paid caregivers have a much more detailed understanding of the ins and outs and, the ethics and the strategies of hiring and managing “domestic employees.” Granted, most disabled people don’t have much say in what their aides are paid, but they can decide on other ways to treat them with respect and show appreciation. And then there are the disabled people and families who do hire care providers with their own money. It is a relationship where the rules, both formal and informal, are still forming, still in flux.