Stella Young on why the saying “the only disability in life is a bad attitude,” is bullshit. (via spasticfantastic1995)
I have now added Stella Young to the list of both “people who explain things much better than I ever could” and “people I need to meet”.
disabled princesses and disabled superheroes are so important where the fuck are they
I think we can agree that Toph is anything but disabled.
no, Toph is disabled, being disabled is not a bad thing why are people so adamant that she isn;t disabled what the fuck is this
I was saying she isn’t disabled because it really does not cause a hinderance.
and yet she is seen as weak by her family and many others for being blind and is restricted because of it, hence being disabled
like disabled people can go out and be awesome and kick ass god we don’t just suddenly stop being disabled when we do things
Toph is disabled and I am not letting you take away one of the few god damn fictional characters that represent disabled people in fiction let alone one of the few characters I can relate to as a disabled person.
I know a blind person who plays all kinds of sports and a person with asperger syndrome who both run in marathons. I have a wheelchair using friend who went overseas to represent our country in wheelchair basketball.
I have Cerebral Palsy and trust me when I tell you I achieved things doctors thought I wouldn’t.
These include things such as drawing. The fact of the matter is I struggle writing at a decent pace and I still managed to teach myself how to write in Japanese and have straight As in the subject in high school which included writing in it in exams.
Let’s talk about how Toph’s disability and how it’s shown in the show:
- She can not see when she is on sand, the grains are too small for her to use her method of “seeing” (which is through tiny vibrations through the earth)
- She can’t see when in water. Hence the kissing of Suki thinking it was Sokka.
- She can’t read.
- She can’t put a poster the right way up because she literally can’t see which is the right way up.
You know it hinders her in some ways but not in others. Did you know that disabled people actually adjust to their conditions because they live with it all the time and learn to deal with it. Which is exactly what Toph did. She learned another way of seeing. She learned how to fight. She learned how to turn her weakness into a strength and there is no way in hell I’m letting you take that away for me.
Please get rid of your ablest notion that if a disabled person achieves or adjusts to their disability that they have somehow “overcome” their disability and are no longer disabled any more. That is so disgusting and wrong.
Reblogging for all the added commentary. Plus, this bit? “like disabled people can go out and be awesome and kick ass god we don’t just suddenly stop being disabled when we do things” Also works the other way around as well. We don’t just suddenly stop “being awesome and kicking ass” when we are disabled. We should not have to deny part of who we are in order to be “awesome” or to “kick ass”. We’re awesome and kick ass JUST AS WE ARE. AS DISABLED PEOPLE. Period.
To define someone as being no longer disabled just because YOU don’t see the hindrances is to essentially equate disability to a complete and total incompetence in every area of life. And that’s not what disability is. ANY disability usually only impacts certain, specific areas of functioning while leaving many other possible areas of strength untouched. It’s possible to be incredibly skilled in one way while ALSO being severely disabled in other ways. It’s also possible to be severely disabled in certain ways while having completely average skills, or only mildly below average skills, in many other ways unrelated to the disability. Just because a disability only serves as a hindrance in certain specific contexts and not at all in other contexts doesn’t mean that the disability has vanished. It just means, you’re seeing the person in a new context.
I’m a brilliant writer and, earlier in my career, had several jobs that relied on my writing skills for my salary. I am also a deaf woman with attention deficit disorder. I don’t stop being a good writer just because I have multiple disabilities. I don’t stop having multiple disabilities when I write something exceptionally brilliant. I don’t become unable to write just because I need to turn the caption decoder on in order to watch television or because I didn’t hear when someone tried to call my name when I was facing the other direction. I don’t view it as complimentary when someone tries to tell me that they “don’t see” my disability just because they have trouble reconciling the idea of multiple disabilities with a person who also can be competent and talented, or vice versa. I’d rather people accept ALL aspects of my being, not just the aspects that impress them.
Instead of trying to define disabilities out of existence every time a person with a disability shows that it’s possible for a person to be simultaneously able to do one thing while also being unable to do another thing, please try to learn a more nuanced understanding of what “disability” and “talents” actually are.
All of this.
reblogging for commentary ALL THE YES AND FUCK YEAH TOPH
I’ve had some more people asking about person first language so I’d just like to make it clear why I prefer ‘disabled’ to ‘person with disability’. There are a few reasons but majorly:
Saying ‘with a disability’ removes the fact that disability is not something we have but something that happens to us. We are disabled by something.
For some of us, our bodies or minds disable us, but for many of us, society is a major factor in disabling us. The refusal to build accessible housing and public places disables mobility impaired people for example.
So essentially, saying ‘with a disability’ moves the blame away from outside forces and instead to us, we have it, it’s our fault that the world is inaccessible. Whilst ‘disabled’ acknowledges that disability is something that is done to us, that we are in fact disabled by society or by illness and it is not our fault.
(Disabled folks who do wish to identify as a person with disability is their prerogative though, this is aimed at abled folks talking about us)
What is really interesting to me is the last paragraph. That parenthetical frames this as a conversation between abled versus disabled, yet said conversations take between people with disabilities as well. Actually, I guess I should say that said conversation takes place between disabled people and people with disabilities. Proper nomenclature and labels are a huge issue for plenty of people, and I’ve sat through weeks of disability advocacy meetings in which phrasing has been debated and battered to death just for the purpose of deciding wording on an e-mail.
The point of the post I reblogged is that the choice of phrasing differs between individuals, and I often hear and read statements aimed at educating the non-disabled/people without disabilities about respecting individual choice in terminology. At the same time, I’ve seen people vehemently criticized for using one term when describing one’s self. I myself have been faulted for my word choice. In research presentations, I’ve quoted from interviews where a person said “I’m disabled” and was told afterwards that I should edit that person’s words to “I have a disability.” These comments have come from both the abled and disabled… oops… I should have called that latter group as persons with disabilities.
To conclude this musing, I’ll simply say that when we talk about respecting labels, it is not simply about the in-group informing the out-group. The in-group itself needs to also pay heed and respect the internal differences of opinion when it comes to labels.
Image Text: I have
mental health problems with oppression & stigma
This image came across my facebook feed earlier today. I reacted instantly with righteous indignation and anger.
I refuse to strike out the mental health from that statement. I have mental health problems AND problems with oppression and stigma.
Pithy sayings like the above are demeaning and problematic in that they sweep under the rug key aspects of having a mental illness. Oppression and stigma do occur, but even if society miraculously changed and ended these overnight, how would this address and quell overwhelming despair to the point of planning one’s suicide? Being so drained of motivation and hope that even getting out of one’s bed to urinate is barely achievable? Putting one’s self into dangerous situations because of manic delusions? Requiring an extra hour to prepare to leave your home because you have to wash your hands twenty times, check the oven 50 times, et cetera? These are examples of detrimental impacts that mental health problems can bring to a person’s life.
Disability advocacy and studies embrace the social model and abhor the medical model, but the reality is that disability’s problems are not solely caused by society. The human body can and does not always operate in ways conducive to a happy and productive life. Addressing these issues (and maybe even fixing or curing them) might very well require interventions with the person: medications, surgeries, therapies, etc. Ignoring this reality and insisting that the problems are only of a societal nature is frankly oppressive in its own right.
This is the exact opposite of justice.
I haven’t read comics in about two months now. Aside from a few general pieces here and there, I haven’t written about comics in about a year. There are some things about the comics community that are pretty ugly. And those things are getting in the way of my enjoyment of comics. What’s killing it for me is the harassment former DC editor, current Comics Alliance writer, and all-around awesome lady Janelle Asselin is trying to dig into and, in the process, has become a target of.
For the time I was writing somewhat regularly about comics, I was discouraged from writing about “uncomfortable” topics like sexism or feminism. This wasn’t for all the sites I wrote for. But I did get the feeling I was allowed to hang out in the special tree house with the boys as long as I acted like one of the boys and didn’t turn into one of those uppity feminists. And I get wanting to keep the focus on comics and the great things about them. Trust me, I would love to go back to the days of unabashedly adoring comics.
But that’s not enough anymore.
It’s easy to say women should be able to do everything a man can do: they can be astronauts and writers and scientists and the President of the United States if they work for it, they should be paid the same wages as their male counterparts, they should have the right to vote and drive a car and do everyday people things without hinderance, etc.
But that’s not where gender equality ends. People should be allowed to express a dissenting opinion on the internet without being threatened with rape; people should be allowed to have consensual sex without being labeled a whore; people should be allowed to wear whatever they want without being groped or demeaned; people should be allowed to express themselves in ways that do not conform to narrow, antiquated definitions of “gender” without being disrespected or physically attacked. And come on, people. This is obvious stuff.
So when someone gets catcalled or threatened or browbeaten, you have to stand up and say NO. And look, I get that’s uncomfortable and confrontational and hard, honestly hard, to do. I’m guilty of not saying anything, of plowing along with my head in the sand and just gushing over my funny pages. But like I said, that’s not enough anymore. We need to have this conversation; we need to call this bullshit behavior out.
Because ignoring the harassment is condoning it. It undermines the severity of the situation. It tells the victims that we care more about their attackers than we do about them. Not to mention, the instances when people flat out tell victims of harassment that they’re exaggerating the facts, or “that’s not what he meant” or “get over it and stop being so emotional.”
And that is fucked up. Seriously fucked up. We need to do better, people. We need to do a lot better.
I need to post more so that there’s more of such underrepresented voices talking about comics.
For some reason I’m really excited about the 2014 Cripping the Comic Con poster
(full size PDF version available here)
There’s just something about it…
But I just can’t put my finger on what…
And yes, I am co-leading an interactive panel/workshop with dayalmohamed on creating a disability version of the Bechdel Test.