#3: I Have A Choice

 

I’m indecisive. I’m still stuck between two topics. I’m leaning more towards one of them, though, so maybe this will help me figure it out.

The first topic is high schoolers with with physical disabilities. The second one is about intersectional feminism (feminism that includes all oppressed groups) and why it’s important.

Both of these ideas are extremely vague, but it’s initially easier for me to make the first one more specific. The first topic comes more naturally to me as I have a physical disability, and I’m in high school. I don’t want to make the documentary about me, but I also think it might be cool to inject my own perspective. I guess I don’t really know how to walk that line. I’ve seen a few documentaries about people with cognitive or physical disabilities, and a lot of them tend to fall into the “inspiration porn” category. Inspiration porn, a term coined by Stella Young in 2012, a disability rights activist and comedian, is the concept of abled people using disabled people as objects of inspiration rather than treating them as real human beings. This presents itself most often in social media. A video of an autistic kid being prom-posed to going viral. A high school wrestler giving up his perfect season to an opponent with Down Syndrome. The other day I saw an Instagram post floating around the most popular pages, depicting a guy taking his girlfriend in a wheelchair to homecoming. The comments were flooded with things like “Omg! This guy is so nice” and “This is the best thing I’ve seen today!” which are all very nice in theory. But if you think about it, the only reason the post went viral was because the girl was in a wheelchair. If you took that out of the equation, it would just be another homecoming post. All the scenarios praise the abled person as some kind of hero for doing what anyone would do.

 

I was the subject of this often when I was younger and wore leg braces (pictured). People would often give me awards for my “participation”, or comment on bravery and perserverance in the face of adversity. What adversity? I was simply living my life the way I always had. I didn’t know any different than my own reality. Looking back on it now, many people saw my disability as an obstacle to overcome rather than something to embrace.

I stopped having to wear braces when I was about 10 years old. I noticed a huge shift in the way people treated me. People were less condescending and didn’t make any more comments about my bravery. Only when people learned I have Cerebral Palsy (a condition that affects how information travels from your brain to your muscles. It effects everyone differently, though it’s very mild in my case) did some of those old comments start to come back. I understand that this idea to take pity on and feel sorry for people with disabilities is ingrained into our society. Maybe my focus could be highlighting the issues with inspiration porn. And that people with physical disabilities can tell when they’re being treated as something less than any able-bodied human being.

 

Maybe I’m not so stuck between two topics anymore.

Sources:

How to Avoid ‘Inspiration Porn’ When Talking About Disability

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inspectrum/201610/bring-the-inspiration-porn

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Lindsey

Lindsey Drew

4 Responses to “#3: I Have A Choice

  • It was cool to sort of see your ideas develop and come together just throughout this post. I think that your topic on issues with ‘inspiration porn’ is a very good one, and not something that I’ve seen addressed in a lot of places. I’m excited to hear more about it!

    • Thanks for the encouraging words, Mariana! I’m glad this post made sense to you and wasn’t necessarily a nonsensical place to put my thoughts.

      -Lindsey

  • Hi Lindsey!

    This is slightly unrelated to your actual topic but I want to make sure you know you that you did an incredible (imagine incredible italicized) job using the i-search blogs to help you. The whole point of them is to “catch you in the act of thinking” and help you organize it. You did and it helped you come up with an answer to your question! I just want to make sure you understand and appreciate how cool it is to see your perspective and opinion change throughout your post.

    Anyway, I’m glad you seem to have a much better understanding of what you want to focus on. I would definitely encourage you to look at Option 2 of last week’s blog post directions and at least think about some of the questions provided. Because of your personal experience, you seem to have some understanding of your topic, but it would definitely be beneficial to look at not only the people with disabilities’ perspective but the schools’ perspective. What steps do schools take to help people with disabilities? What more could they do? Why don’t they do more? Questions like these are just good to keep in mind, especially as you dig further into your topic.

    Good luck!
    Emily

    • Wow! Thanks for the compliment, Emily! I really do appreciate it.

      From reading this comment a few weeks ago (apologies for the belated reply), I have really started to incorporate the schools perspective into my thinking on this topic. Thanks for helping me shift my thinking.

      -Lindsey

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