Anyone up for a conference on women

April 19, 2007 at 8:12 PM (disabled women)

and impairment in the NYC area on April 30 2007 should head over to No Pity (Livejournal acct required…)

For those that cannot link to LJ:

Scholarships may still be available.

Contact info

Thewomenscenter-at-yai.org

212-273- 6100, ext. 2132

212-273-6193

Dalia.Sztulwark -at-yai.org

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And, further

March 25, 2007 at 10:24 AM (disabled women, Feminism)

Found at “Falling Off My Pedestal….a link to this gem.

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Belinda

March 20, 2007 at 6:34 PM (disabled women) ()

So it’s summer and I’m 14 or so, spending time at a summer camp for kids with impairments.

Belinda was my cabin mate.

She had a soft voice and hair that was always pulled back carefully, clothes expensive but not showy.

Her cognition appeared to be what able bodied people would consider ordinary, unaffected…

She had crutches similar to mine.

And, she was clearly used to asking for help with the simplest of tasks.

“Would you get me my suitcase?” I need something from it.”

The suitcase was under her bed…A couple of smacks with a crutch would have brought it within her reach…

“Would you get me some paper? I need to write a letter.” The paper was stowed just above the bed she was sitting in…it appeared to be within her reach.

The counselors had obviously been told that a bit more self reliance was the goal of sending her to camp, so they were disinclined to do these assists that from their perception and my own, she could have handled.

So, I wondered…I didn’t want to mouth off against her, but everytime we were in the same space, I became her de facto PCA.

I decided to see if there really was some reason that she couldn’t do these things…so I started asking, carefully…”Is that something you can reach?”

“Oh yes,” she said cheerfuly…It’s just easier to ask someone else to do it….” I swear she sounded just like the perky cheerful friend from an English novel about a girls boarding school.

“Well,” I said carefully…”I’m at camp too. And I have things to do…so whenever you *can* do something yourself, you need to do it.”

She was amazed…”Really?” No one at home asks me to pick up my own things…”

(I privately wondered how she and my mother would have gotten on…)

She slowly began to do more for herself…but was astounded and preachy when she found I did swim myself and made arrangements to continue to do so safely during menstruation.

“That’s just impossible! Mother says there’s no way I could do that…” She was actually fearful and angry that she would be expected to do what I did…but they didn’t expect that….

I wasn’t surprised that Belinda didn’t come back the following year or any other…but I wished she would because near the end of her two weeks she was having fun…making a bit of a game about doing her own tasks…

My perception was that she was a lazy wilful arrogant person who enjoyed ordering people around, but I recognized that *I didn’t know for sure…* and so that’s why I handled my question carefully No one outside, even a fellow crip, can have error proof judgements about what an individual can or can’t do…

I don’t know if I did her wrong or not…and I wasn’t the mouthy broad I am today so any griping I did, I did in private…

But *doing more* did interest her…and engage her….

Did she keep it up when she went home or did the parents let things slide…

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The Black Dress

September 24, 2006 at 4:05 PM (Assumptions, disabled women, Uncategorized) (, , )

It was Halloween. I was late teens early twenties, and somehow, someone “borrowed” a vintage dress from the theatre department…black, taffeta, floor length v-neck.

Everyone did costumes.

I loved it. The way it moved, the way it hung, the way it sounded…if a rustle could be sophisticated it had it.

I went to the dance. It was a silly, awkward but hilarious good time…but I didn’t dance the whole thing…midway through I chose the wallflower seat.

Someone unknown came and sat beside me, sounding oddly talkative for a place where the music blasted, and smelling of various intoxicants.

Then, I realized without a whisper of motion from me, his arm was around the back of my neck, to the opposing shoulder…an unwelcome snake. I thought, if I got up and danced he’d sheer off.

I did, and he didn’t. He watched…from different angles…from far away…from closer in…

friends tried to run interference for me (and the fact that they were in costume didn’t help…Mimes ordinarily can’t project “tough”)…

I didn’t want this…person (I don’t like calling him a person)…creature to ruin the night. I moved all around the party space, but it was no use.

So, I just left. In a hurry. Fled on four feet. On Canadian crutches equiped at the time with snow blades up above the tip level, that could be twisted down to grip the ice during winter…”running” in black taffeta on Hallowe’en night.

He followed…I got some distance from the dance was out in the square, and when he got close I took my left crutch, leaned as much of my body weight on it as possible and slammed it onto the top of his left foot.

I must have hit *something* since he made a weird shriek and peeled off and away.

I did not go home. I was shaking. I ended up in the music building at one of the practice rooms…hammered out more than a few dissonant chords of this and that…

The security guard came at eleven…he didn’t say anything, and I pushed past him and out the doors, and “ran” again, fast, to home, the dorm…that houseful of women.

I don’t fit that dress, that profile now…

Because of both my impairment and the thing that makes me way less than saintly, my sugar jones…I had such a brief time to be the “correct” weight…to be pretty…

*Why,* if those of us with impairments have fewer ways or less time, to be percieved as “pretty” by the able world….

*Why* do they wreck it? Why are we even *more* the ones with *vulnerable* tatooed on our forehead for the creeps to target?

If we’re only going to have four *hours* a year to be a knockout, damnit…Let it happen!

Let us be charismatic and compelling and *safe* at the same time.

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A particular sort of placeholder

June 15, 2006 at 9:10 PM (disabled women, Feminism) (, , , )

It seems that even amongst women working for change. disabled women might as well be talking at the wall.

It’s discouraging.

If other minority women don’t hear us….then what’s left?

As the comment states below, links don’t work to get there unless you have a livejournal footprint.

If you are so inclined, create a livejournal account and go to:

http://community.livejournal.com/no_pity/449555.html

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