Our liberation from “inspiration porn”

Sometimes when I am out shopping or wheeling my chair down the street, I am approached by strangers who tell me that I am “brave” or “inspiring”. Of course they mean well, but these people don’t know anything about me, my character or my work. How do they know I have achieved anything meaningful? This thought-provoking TED Talk by Stella Young questions society’s habit of objectifying disabled people for what she refers to as “inspiration porn”.

What do you think about society’s image of disabled people?

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2 thoughts on “Our liberation from “inspiration porn”

  1. I was nodding my head furiously watching this video – makes a lot of sense. However perhaps in your case it is sliiiightly different, given that you did actually go through something very difficult and life changing.
    If people refer to you specifically as brave or inspiring, maybe they are just referring to all that you went through after your accident? The surgeries and therapy and rehabilitation. But then I suppose they need to know you personally and be aware of why you are in a wheelchair in the first place 🙂

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    • Thanks Jen! I completely agree with you – someone who became disabled at a later point in life has a very different experience from someone who was born disabled.
      For someone like me, who has only recently become disabled, the biggest difficulty is adjusting your way of life and in some ways regressing to an infancy-like phase, where you have to learn how to do everything from scratch with your new body. I am so grateful for the encouragement and support my friends have given me and without you all I don’t think I’d be nearly as brave. 🙂
      I nevertheless feel guilty that I still identify more with able-bodied people than disabled people at this stage, because I have been non-disabled for 26 years, whereas I have only been in a wheelchair for a few months. Just give me a few years. 😉

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