Did You Know Cripples Can Do Things?: Inspiration Porn and the Ableist Commodification of Disabled Bodies

Usually as the end of the year draws nearer, websites really like to do lists or countdowns of various notable things that happened during the year. More and more often, I’m seeing some version of a collection of “heartwarming moments.” The problem is, these lists are often ableist as all fuck. So, let’s talk about inspiration porn!

This list is a great one to critique, because over a quarter of these images are about disabled folks, or people battling illnesses. I mean, just think about that for a second–a quarter of the reasons to feel good are inspiration porn. That’s no small amount. That’s a hefty burden to place upon our shoulders as a community. I mean damn, if I’m not a good cripple, there’s only 73% the reasons to feel good about the last year! That’s like…a low C if you’re lucky. A failing grade at my old school, because I wasn’t afforded the luxury of 10% grading increments (fuck you, 7%, fuck you).

I don’t want to turn this post into an analysis of each image, but I’m going to pick out a few to make my point.

1. The parents who made their son’s wheelchair into the best Halloween costume ever

No one would be particularly bowled over by a kid dressing as an ice cream server if that kid could walk. But oh my holy crap a cripple is trick-or-treating. And that’s exactly what this is. This is only “inspirational” because the kid is in a wheelchair. And the parents are only great because they love their crippled son enough to make him a Halloween costume. Lots of able-bodied kids have homemade Halloween costumes, some of them incredibly awesome, and way more impressive than this. But this is happening to a cripple, and everything that happens to a cripple is inspirational to the able-bodied.

5. And the people that helped out any way that they could

This is wonderful. I love this. This is truly a display of true human kindness, people sharing their blessings with their community. This is inspirational, because it’s a good deed that anyone could do, and anyone could benefit from.

10. And the police officers who made blind 13-year-old Gage Hancock-Stevens’ dream of being a cop come true

Cops do ride-alongs with kids. It’s nothing surprising, nothing out of the ordinary. But because this kid is blind, it’s “inspirational.” Because both “oh wow those police officers are treating that blind kid like he’s normal” and “oh wow that blind kid can participate in an activity that normal kids can do.” And disabled kids are used rather often in inspiration porn, because they’re little and cute and haven’t built up the resistance to this sort of commodification that us grown-up disabled folks have.

16. The Icelandic heroes who rescued sheep during a major snowstorm

Who the hell doesn’t love a good story about animals being helped during tragic circumstances? It’s heartwarming. Hell, have another:

20. The bros who worked together to save a cat

SAVE EVERYTHING FLUFFY.

Now, by this point on the list, my exasperation with and expectation of inspiration porn had reached epic levels. So, when I saw this headline and photo:

25. The amazing couple who stuck together through unbelievable odds

I immediately said to my partner who was in the room with me, “I bet he lost all his limbs.”

Yup.

These entries about disabled people? They’re not “inspirational,” they’re ableist. “Sticking together through unbelievable odds” should not mean “Oh wow she stayed with him after he became a cripple.” Being an amputee, being disabled, that does not make us any less worthy of love. And constantly those who “stick by us” (whether lovers, friends, or family) are painted as saints for being willing to tolerate our disabilities, let alone accommodate them. Would anyone say it’s “inspirational” that your partner stayed with you after you got a really ugly haircut? No. Your physical state does not determine your worth as a person. Think about that for a minute, okay?

“Against all odds” should not mean “after one became a cripple.” That’s not “all odds,” that’s like…one odd. And if one odd is enough to make you abandon your partner, you’re a shitty person. If you consider someone’s disability a reason to not love them, you are a terrible human being and I hate you. I don’t normally get that specific and personal on here, but holy fuck am I tired of people thinking it’s just so “strong” and “kind” and “charitable” for people to stick around after their loved one becomes disabled. That’s called “being a halfway-decent human being.” People should try it a little more, maybe.

Events aren’t magically more “inspiring” just because they happen to a disabled person. This shit doesn’t make disabled people feel better, it exists to make able-bodied people feel better about their lives, both because they think it’s sweet to bestow charity upon the disabled, and wow if that worthless cripple is happy, being half a person, then dagnabbit, they should be happy, too!

Look, I love a good “furry animal being rescued from the brink of disaster” story as much as the next person. But that shit does not belong next to inspiration porn. It just fucking doesn’t. Because one of these is a sweet gesture of saving a creature that society deems less important than humans. And the other…well, it’s treated the exact same way, and that’s the problem. The people who like inspiration porn, they’re giving us the same role as a puppy stranded in flood waters. These animals need that charity, they are truly incapable of rescuing themselves, and fans of inspiration porn act like being disabled is a lifetime of being a cat stuck in a tree.

It is always heartwarming to see people putting their lives on the line for others. But we’re not talking about life-threatening situations. We’re talking about disabled people doing completely normal things. A child trick-or-treating. A child getting a glimpse of a profession he’s interested in. A woman continuing to love her partner.

This is not inspiring. That’s being a human.

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About bunnika

shout at the brick wall; if it doesn't hear you, shout louder
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29 Responses to Did You Know Cripples Can Do Things?: Inspiration Porn and the Ableist Commodification of Disabled Bodies

  1. sephirajo says:

    I’m still half convinced that a big part of it is “Wow, I’m so glad I’m not them!”

  2. pleasure_past says:

    Against all odds… What the fuck? Against all odds would be like… one of them spending eleven months a year in Antarctica studying fish biology without an internet connection so for most of the year they communicate exclusively by novel-length letters that can only be sent or received one time a month because the postal service doesn’t deliver to Antarctica so various other scientists have to act as middle-men sending and receiving the letters when they go back to the US for once a month each. And the one who stays in the US has ichthyophobia but the one in Antarctica is obsessed with fish and has wanted to be a fish biologist ever since she was eight years old and hates that she will never be able to share her two great loves (fish and her partner) with each other. There are probably some other things we could do to fuck with those odds, but “make one of them disabled!” isn’t one of them.

    Also, sorry about not commenting yesterday but I was wicked sleep deprived and a weird emotional mess for my own petty reasons. I just wanted to say that you are an awesome mom and being disabled doesn’t change that in the slightest. Your daughter loves you and she knows you love her and your unconditional love and support of her matters way more than whether or not you can wrestle with her or make it to every school party. Great parents aren’t the parents who can control reality and make sure that nothing bad ever happens. No one can do that; Great parents are the ones who do the absolute best they can for their children in spite of the bad things happen, and I know you do the best you can for your kid and when she gets older she’ll understand that and she’ll love and appreciate you for it even more than she does now.

    Oh, and I hope you won’t consider this an inappropriate place to say that you look awesome in that pic on tumblr. I love your hair! And your sassy face. 😀

    • bunnika says:

      When I originally reblogged this on Tumblr, my “against all odds” was something like each of them being stranded on islands on opposite ends of the world, being forced to swim and barter their way to meet in the middle. Like…there are so many ways that something can be called “against all odds.” This is not one of them.

      ❤ and *blush* at the rest of this comment. ^.^

  3. Ben says:

    Around Halloween, I brought up the pictures Halloween costumes of disabled people to the disability group that I’m in when we were talking about inspiration porn. I saw a lot of these pictures going around, and I wasn’t sure what they were supposed to convey. I said that I thought those costumes were legitimately awesome. I like the ice cream truck one. It’s creative, it’s not just any ol halloween costume. It’s also one of those things where something intended for one use is used for something else — it has a name, cause I learned about it in psych. It’s not just a wheelchair, it’s an ice cream truck. Me, I usually just see a wheelchair when I see a wheelchair. No way I could have come up with the ice cream truck thing.
    And there was the fellow with just one leg who was the leg lamp from A Christmas Story. Which was awesome. Cause I love A Christmas story. Also, I would have a really hard time being the leg lamp. I’d sorta have to tuck one leg up somehow, and still manage to hop around wearing a high heel.

    Anyway, I decided to argue that it wasn’t inspiration porn because they were pretty legit costumes. If the kid were just spiderman and the wheelchair wasn’t part of the costume like the ice cream truck was, that would be clear-cut inspiration porn. So is it your opinion that everyone else would see my hypothetical spiderman kid just as “inspiring” as ice cream truck kid? Or is it different because I found ice cream truck kid as just a picture by itself with the title, and you found it in this list of heartwarming moments? What if the kid were in a list of “awesome halloween costumes”? Would that be different? You seemed to have a strong opinion on it, and my group was left feeling unsure, but we also thought objectively that these costumes were pretty creative and awesome.

    • bunnika says:

      The biggest part of this is acknowledging that we do not live in a vacuum. You cannot take that photo out of the context of a post filled with inspiration porn, then say it’s not.

      Secondly, I sincerely do not believe that this would be as lauded if it were a costume for an able-bodied child. Running on the assumption that the child’s parents shared this initially, did the parents originally share it so it could be used as inspiration porn? Not necessarily. They were probably proud on their handiwork, and just wanted to show off their adorable kid like all other parents do. But intent, again, is not magic.

      I’ve got no problem with people adapting costumes to their disabilities, or people within the disabled community sharing amongst ourselves costume ideas like this. I also have no problem with a proud disabled person showing off their ingenuity. But once it is removed from that context, once able-bodied people start finding it any sort of “heartwarming” or “inspirational” or just “amazing” beyond what they’d find the costumes of able-bodied children, the deed is done.

      It was an adorable costume, and I’m glad the child’s parents were able to make it for him. And if it were shared with costumes of comparable cuteness, whether on abled or disabled children, I’d have no objection. But I’ve seen able-bodied kids with costumes that blow it out of the water, and they’re never used to “restore faith in humanity.” Because an awesome costume is just an awesome costume; an awesome costume on a cripple is “inspirational”, because we’re “restoring faith.”

      • Ben says:

        Yeah, that’s what me and my group decided pretty much when I brought up your article to them. That it’s the context. When I first saw that picture around Halloween, it was floating around by itself, which is why when I first saw it I wasn’t sure. Putting it in this list of heartwarming moments is what makes it inspiration porn, for sure.
        Thanks for responding.

  4. Jessica says:

    I linked to this blog post under this: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150373441113934

    thing on facebook, (sorry if you don’t have facebook, I couldn’t seem to find a link for a youtube version or anything!) because, well it’s obvious why. I hope some of the people who didn’t know or understand how offensive this kind of media coverage is will find and love your blog.

    Thanks for writing, btw. I’ve been enjoying your blog so much. 🙂

    ~~Jess~~

  5. Reblogged this on My Blog and commented:
    Ye-up- as a person with MS, both EX husbands got praise just for tolerating my disease.

  6. Smoochagator says:

    “This is not inspiring. That’s being a human.”

    YES.

    And though I would say that a person who is a faithful and supportive partner through the challenges presented by a new or worsening disability deserves recognition, so does ANY person who is faithful and supportive through ANY challenge. Your partner sticks with you while you’re changing careers, going back to school, battling a serious illness, dealing with severe financial setbacks, mourning the loss of a close friend or family member? Yes, they are just being a decent human being, but in today’s world I think that deserves a pat on the back. Too often we focus on how people disappoint us and that can get depressing. Any sort of awesomeness on behalf of my family, friends, and especially my husband makes me want to throw a party. Good stuff like that should be recognized frequently, not just when it happens to someone who is disabled (as if it’s surprising that disabled people could possibly find someone to love them…)

  7. BlindReader says:

    Hi, you cleverly wove descriptions into your prose for most of the photos, which is great. I really appreciate it! There’s just one photo that doesn’t have a description though, the one where you say: “This is wonderful. I love this. This is truly a display of true human kindness, people sharing their blessings with their community. This is inspirational, because it’s a good deed that anyone could do, and anyone could benefit from” Could you please fill in your blind readers? Thanks!

    • bunnika says:

      I will absolutely get on that as soon as I am able. (I’m working on my phone right now.) for now though, before though is from 1 of the major natural disasters that hit the United States this year. Most of the people in New York City were without power, and the photo shows a power strip connected to an extension cord, with a note telling everyone that they are welcome to use it to charge their phones. It’s a small gesture of kindness to give people from comfort during was a difficult time.

  8. EDITOR’S NOTE: Trigger warning for ableism

    You said “The people who like inspiration porn, they’re giving us the same role as a puppy stranded in flood waters. These animals need that charity, they are truly incapable of rescuing themselves, and fans of inspiration porn act like being disabled is a lifetime of being a cat stuck in a tree.”

    Sadly some people with disabilities are absolutely in need of that charity as they are completely incapable of “saving” themselves. Without their families, carers or the support of a caring society in general, these people would not be able to survive. In that way, these PWDs are very much like the puppy or kitten.

    Do people have the right to feel good about seeing images of disabled folk getting help? Of course, why not? Does it make some people feel grateful they too are not disabled? Probably and again, why not? Are PWDs inspirational? Well for sure, some are. Lots of people are inspirational. Are they inspirational simply because they are disabled? Well that’s just plain stupid. It’s like inspiring people because you have blue eyes. I am a PWD and I have blue eyes so I must be really be someone special. I do think that most disabled peoiple hate that “you’re so inspirational” thing. We are just living our lives like everyone else, maybe doing a better job than some and a worse job than others. Wow just like the non-disabled side of the community.

    • bunnika says:

      Normally I’d just dump this in spam because yet again, a commenter comes along who doesn’t understand or bother reading my “safe space” comment policy, and where comments like this should go. But I’m gonna toss this up momentarily, just so I can share it and you can get notifications of replies, while I copy-paste everything into the appropriate commenting entry.

      Personally? I can’t even with this “some people are like puppies” privileged bullshit. (And yes, it’s still privileged even if you are yourself disabled; clearly you are not disabled in a way that you’d deem “puppy-like.”) So I’m just gonna see if other people have the energy for your bullshit, because the logic used here, comparing people to animals? It’s literally been used to justify eugenics and the mass murder of disabled people, so FUCK YOU SO HARD.

    • pleasure_past says:

      Do people have the right to feel good about seeing images of disabled folk getting help? Of course, why not?

      Ugh, I hate this. Every fucking time.

      Nobody is contesting anyone’s “right” to do anything. Bunnika is not mobilizing a massive police force to haul people off to prison if they dare to look at inspiration porn. She’s just pointing out that it’s a shitty thing to do.

      Does it make some people feel grateful they too are not disabled? Probably and again, why not?

      Because they are feeling grateful that they are not disabled at the direct expense of other people. It’s upsetting to many of the individual people featured in the porn and to others who share their disabilities, because it completely Others them. Middle school kids have Career Days and shadow people who do the jobs they’re interested in all the time, but when a *blind* middle school kid does these things, suddenly it’s ~inspiring~ and out of the ordinary. What it says is that this boy is not like other kids who are just going about their lives, and it does so with heavily negative implications. The message here is that we should feel sorry for this boy because being blind is bad and makes him different from people who are not blind. Declaring (out-right or by implication) that someone is different when they don’t want to be and associating a core part of their identity with negativity is shitty and ableist, whether you do it to thirteen-year-old boys in police cars or adults on dates.

      Are they inspirational simply because they are disabled? Well that’s just plain stupid.

      And yet that’s exactly what’s being said here. Kids going trick-or-treating is cute and all, but it would never have been on this post if the kid weren’t disabled. The ~inspirational~ part of this nursery-school kid (idk how old he is but he doesn’t look very old) trick-or-treating is that he’s doing so while being disabled. This kid is still existing andsometimes having fun even though he’s disabled. That’s it. That’s the inspiration. Everybody go home now and be inspired because obviously that’s why these parents made and took pictures of that costume. Disabled people’s lives are all about making able-bodied people feel inspired.

      Straight white people being in love is really great and all, but it wouldn’t be on this post if he weren’t disabled. The mere fact that the man was disabled is what makes this story “inspirational.” The “unbelievable odds” here is that he became disabled, and obviously disabled people are innately unworthy of love, or at least very difficult to love, so it’s, like, really inspirational that his relationship didn’t fall apart. Young straight white people being in love is literally being called ~inspirational~ just because he is disabled.

      And this is bullshit. It Others disabled people and separates them from able-bodied people when they might not want that separation, it associates negativity with their identities, and it commodifies disabled bodies and makes the lives of disabled people all about what they can teach able-bodied people. None of that is okay.

      And it’s really, really fucked up to liken anyone to an animal. As Bunnika pointed out, it’s highly unlikely you’re including yourself in that group, even if you are a PWD, so by saying that others are like puppies and kittens, you’re implying that you are superior to these people and you’re dehumanizing them in just the way that was used for centuries as a tool of (often lethal) oppression against disabled people.

  9. robertsloan2 says:

    Love that term, inspiration porn. Looking at the costume, it was easy to imagine my son in law and daughter putting that together for my granddaughter or grandson with a tricycle under it. Same general idea – something with that much cute is a pass-around family photo, a good costume, turned into Inspiration Porn.

    The goth family doing their toddler driving the Zombie Army Truck complete with green makeup might not have made it to the forwards. These things are always squeaky clean-cut and conservative. The gay family doing the rainbow ice cream truck for their kid for Pride might have just as cute a costume (and Pride is a great event for costumes, that’s a cool way to get the kids involved), but it won’t make it to the forwards.

    Thank you for posting this one. I like your blog. I like it a lot. I needed this like I needed a long cold drink on a hot day. You rock.

  10. I do understand the sensitivity of the Inspirational porn but I think that we are all subject to a “porn” of any kind. The fact that I am disable and my son is not by giving him a ride on my back of my Chair just to take him to school or to any walking distance he obviously can do by himself… Am I displaying my pride and joy that so many of us have been denied…. or Am I displaying an “inspirational porn” that this blog is claiming. I think it is natural human way to promote something that is not necessary there in the common media but it is definitely out there and yet not seen by people who fall short on understanding that we are all human looking for something or/and someone.
    I will say this much… I WILL NOT BE SUBJECT OF “PITY PORN” but if the intention is raised consciousness by a new media that is hungry for real events and life contradictions then the people who use the “inspirational porn” are doing something positive. The trick is to recite the serenity prayers and hope for the best.

  11. Anna Hirsch says:

    word.

    the socially constructed category of disability is a myth; ableism is real (race is a myth; racism is real). the lived experience of different bodies, every single unique soul, is also real. understanding the difference between the first sentence and the second sentence is extraordinarily difficult for Americans today. we’ve been very well trained in othering via the construct of disability. i am totally grokking your blog today. thank you, bunnika.

  12. Wow, I love this story, and the term inspiration porn. My son died in 2004, and the number of people who came up to me and said I was so “brave” was unbelievable. What was I going to do, just lay down and die like a fish out of water? Life goes on. I forget just why. And I don’t need inspiration porn to help me figure it out.

  13. I love this so much. Thank you for writing it! As a person with a visible difference, a lot of people expect my life to be worse than theirs. Oh I couldn’t handle looking like you, they say. And I also get a bit of ‘its great someone like you is out and about’. Recently a guy told me he was hesitant contacting me on online dating because of how I looked, but now he’s seen my ‘inner beauty’ and realised I’m normal. Ugh. I wrote about that here. http://carlyfindlay.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/i-don-want-to-be-someone-heroic-choice.html
    Thank you so much for this post 🙂 I often feel non disabled people don’t understand condescension and inspiration porn and how offensive it can be.

  14. MayorOfUlthar says:

    Hi. I wasn’t clear on who was being criticized in the trick or treat wheelchair example. The parents?

  15. Amandaamanda says:

    Hi,

    Inspiration porn. I love that term and am going to start using it every time some sighted person tells me either “it’s your job to inspire people,” (yes, I’ve heard that), or “wow, you’re so amazing.” I found this post because someone shared it on Twitter and it showed up in my timeline.

  16. Amanda says:

    Damn. Spelled my name wrong in the field. Yep, this has been a long day.

    Amanda

  17. Ryan Durant says:

    I wanted to disagree on the part about a couple staying together after one is disabled. Because I’ve been on the losing end of that, and I would have appreciated him staying. But after some more thinking and re reading, I think I just managed to buy in to the idea that it makes someone extra special good for staying, when in reality, it just makes the ones who leave bad people. So, thanks for that. It helped me rethink things and realize he left because he was a bad person, not because I wasn’t still able to do what I could before. If he had to weigh his love for me against how much he was willing to adapt to my new circumstances, it wasn’t much love to start with, I guess.

  18. Taylor says:

    In large part I agree with you. People with disability doing average things isn’t inspiring; it’s normal. I do have a couple dissenting points to make however. Let me preface this with saying that this is just my opinion on the matters at hand. I do not have a disability as per the ADA definition, but I do have a degree in disability studies and have worked with people with disability and in services for people with disability.
    The first is pertaining to the child trick or treating. That is a damn cool costume. I didn’t even notice that the child was using a wheel chair at first glance. I just thought that it was a cool costume. That would be a cool costume if the child didn’t use the wheel chair all the time. If I took a wheel chair and made that costume for an able-bodied child, it would still be cool. I’m not saying everyone looks at it that way. I’m sure you’re right about some people’s perspective, but I think you’re making assumptions about other people’s thought processes that aren’t necessarily fair or correct.
    The second is about the child riding along with the police officers. You wrote: “‘oh wow those police officers are treating that blind kid like he’s normal’ and ‘oh wow that blind kid can participate in an activity that normal kids can do.'” and hypothetically attributed them to the viewers of these pictures. I think that is fair and while I agree that these should not be noteworthy things, they still are in our current social climate. People should be treated equally, regardless of their disability. That is true whether it is blindness, hearing impairment, mental illness, spinal chord injury, dyslexia, etc. Unfortunately, that is often not the reality. People don’t always do the right thing. You don’t always do the right thing. I don’t always do the right thing. People should be commended for doing the right thing whether that child could see or not. as for the part about blind children participating in activities that “normal kids can do”, again, people do need to be shown that. It’s unfortunate but a lot of people don’t realize that people with disabilities are functioning human beings. That is the point of this post after all; isn’t it?
    As for the last one about the couple staying together, that one is nonsense. I couldn’t agree with you more.

  19. jabes says:

    I agree that this type of “inspiration porn” is damaging to the disabled community, but advocacy alone does nothing to change that. It takes well-versed, concise, argumentative and non-hateful advocacy.

    Perhaps these photos would distance the disabled and able-bodied communities from one another by prompting an “I’m glad i’m not like them” reaction as I believe someone called it. Is it so hard then to believe that they are also a subtle reminder of the frailty of life and the brief opportunity we have to fulfill it? Is it not true that those in the disabled community with relatively little opportunity should be gifted with the greatest degree of fulfillment? Is it wrong to celebrate that? I don’t believe so. I also don’t believe that any amount of criticism will remove these stories or others like them from the public eye nor should they (except maybe the last one).

    THAT SAID…

    There remains the unintended consequence of marginalizing those disabled folk who are able to aspire to their own dreams as opposed to simply being handed them. As an individual with SMA who just graduated from college, I can say without hesitation that my goal right now is to get hired and move into the city. There’s no reason that I can’t or shouldn’t be expected to do all of that on my own (that sure as hell doesn’t mean it’s easy lol). It is true that society holds lower standards for people with disabilities than I, and I imagine many others, would like, however throwing a tarp over inspiration porn does nothing to promote independence; it merely conceals one sub-demographic from the mainstream media. A more practical solution would be to promote the independently-earned achievements from those who are fortunate enough to be able to pursue them. Who are the great disabled persons of our time? Is the number of disabled persons in the upper class out of the whole upper class proportional to those who aren’t?

    I think your article has good intentions but is slightly misled. Even if you decide to spam this, I’d love to discuss this with you further as well as hear any questions you may have:)

    Best,
    jabes

  20. Melody says:

    Hello! I enjoyed reading your post! Like many Buzzfeed articles, this one is another ‘entertaining’, emotion-evoking, blindly written post that doesn’t really serve much purpose at all.

    I wanted to point out something though. I would like to discuss a few points that you made about one picture in particular – the one with the wife and the man who lost his limbs.

    “And constantly those who “stick by us” (whether lovers, friends, or family) are painted as saints for being willing to tolerate our disabilities, let alone accommodate them. Would anyone say it’s “inspirational” that your partner stayed with you after you got a really ugly haircut? No. Your physical state does not determine your worth as a person. Think about that for a minute, okay?
    … I don’t normally get that specific and personal on here, but holy fuck am I tired of people thinking it’s just so “strong” and “kind” and “charitable” for people to stick around after their loved one becomes disabled. That’s called “being a halfway-descent human being.” People should try it a little more, maybe.”

    I completely agree your earlier quote – that being disabled doesn’t not make us any less worthy of love. I would repeat that quote 100 times over. But I wanted to point out that being a loved one, caregiver, family member etc. of a person with a disability (physical or mental illness) is challenging. And it is because our society is majorly built around abled-bodied people. There are adapting and alterations being made, but ultimately, it is much easier for able-bodied people to move around, get jobs, take care of themselves, do leisure activities and access services. It sucks, but that’s the case. For someone who physical disabilities, such as the gentleman who lost all 4 limbs…it is more difficult for him to get around. Losing 4 limbs is not comparable to an ugly haircut. His partner adjusting with him losing 4 limbs is a lot more challenging than adjusting to an ugly haircut. Losing 4 limbs disrupts a person’s life completely – he have to change the way he completes his activities of daily living (dressing, toileting, eating, EVERYTHING), his ambulation and getting around, doing his job, his leisure activities. It is a major change and is difficult for the person…and also their loved ones. The wife would have to learn how to take care of him until he is able to become independent again. She’ll probably have to learn how to help him get up the stairs, how to feed him until he can do it himself. Their home would have to be modified which costs tons of money and probably financial strain. There are so many more changes in addition to that. She experiences a change in her life where she has to adapt to that; the physical ability of her husband has changed and his role as a lover, caregiver, and provider to her is changed. And that is difficult to deal with. And she did it, and I think she deserves credit. They both deserve credit because they experience something difficult in their lives and they got through it. I definitely don’t think she should be labelled as ‘kind’ or ‘charitable’, but I think she is strong. They are both strong.

    And I do think it is inspirational. I think it really depends on each person’s views of what is inspiration – I tend to find a lot of things inspirational. I find it inspirational because they got through a difficult stage in their lives and that challenge happens to be the disability of the man. I think it’s ok to say label this as inspirational and saying that getting a disability is challenging. Their story (however little I got from it pictures) affected me emotionally and gave me some insight. And so does other events. Yesterday, I found inspiration when a stranger on the subway talked to me and ask me questions about myself, because it showed me how she showed me caring even though I was just a random stranger. I find my mother inspirational because she immigrated to Canada with 3 children with $900 in her pocket and raised all of us by herself. It was really challenging for her and she did it. And I found this entry about this person with disability and his wife inspirational and I think it’s perfectly fine.

    I apologize for the long post…as a new blogger I do tend to ramble! Summary: I do agree with your opinions on how the article is skewing the view of inspirational and really making it about a person’s disability and making it “heartwarming”. But being inspired may be different for each person and I think finding this particular story about the couple inspirational isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. And I think that acquiring a disability is hard, disruptive and requires adjustment and I really think they both are strong people for making the adjustment.

  21. Pingback: In the News – October 2013 | The PsychoJenic Archives

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