Monday, April 29, 2013

Disability, ability, and bow-chicka-wow-wow.

As I have come to accept my (relatively mild) disability as a permanent part of who I am, it has nevertheless forced me to look differently at myself as well as the world around me.

It is possible that it will not be healthy for me again to work a "normal" 9-5 job, at least one that follows mainstream American norms, and it makes me wonder if that work is in fact ever healthy for anyone.

I am still more than competent at what I'm good at, but our society puts expectations on allowing us to work that demand we be in every way able-bodied. It makes sense that if you have a chronic back injury and chronic pain, you can't work a stocking job -- but why shouldn't we be allowed to adapt to our own strengths and limitations rather than not be allowed to be productive members of a workplace at all?

Even if we are allowed the "right" to enter the workplace, the disabled are likely going to be subject to teasing or outright abuse. I know because for the years that as I tried to fit myself in, at the behest of family, peers, and necessity, I accumulated more trauma from workplace abuse than anything else. And it is likely far worse for those with more immediately apparent challenges.

Never again.

Similarly, it is possible that our concept of individualism makes it difficult for most people to conceive of being in any way disabled, and being a sexual commodity.

Moving beyond my direct experience, I'd like you to consider some of these: 
"Artificial limbs are usually designed to be as inconspicuous as possible. Yet here was an amputee proudly stretching her bejeweled leg before a stadium of flashing cameras and millions of TV viewers across the world.
"Generally the whole technology is moving towards trying to recapture a lifelike limb that looks realistic and also acts realistic in motion," said de Oliveira.
"In this instance I'm doing the complete opposite and I think it does capture that whole childlike imagination -- it's like being a superhero with super powers."
"How we judge ourselves is inextricably linked to how we think others perceive us. This is a problem because – and this isn’t much of a secret – disability isn’t sexy.
Open almost any magazine and you’ll find an article about what makes for an attractive partner. We all value different qualities – whether it’s intelligence, sense of humour, looks, or financial security. No one ever says disability. Whatever – who wants their disability to be a sexual commodity? The problem is, we never talk about disability and sexuality in the same sentence. And the result is that people often fear their disability is an active turn-off."
The fact is that even if you are in the prime of health, this is a temporary condition. You will with absolute certainty come to face either injury, chronic illness, or death. Age will reduce some capacities, in this culture that idolizes youth and ignores the benefits of wisdom. How much thought have you given to cultural ideas of ability, injury, and sex? What about your personal perspective?

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

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