don’t think it all the way through…
is a great distinction between who women are “supposed” to be…and who they are…but…
For disabled women I believe the distinction goes a bit further…
Femininity is the thing that makes both the feminists and non feminists uncomfortable when seen as a clear aspect of a disabled woman.
If we *wish* that traditional idea, we cannot have it.
And in many cases if we ‘reject’ the traditional it’s as if we’re giving an extra shove to something that is already out of our sphere…not by our own choice but by the ‘comfort zone’ of the able.
Feminism is that thing, that path to power over yourself and your life…that feminists in theory should want to extend as a welcoming hand to disabled women…many do…but when we admit to being sexual the discomfort is evident, even on the left. When we admit to genuine fear that our lives might be ended without our consent…immediately we are either automatically making common cause with the right, or labeled its clueless tools.
If there is to be a complete discussion of “Femininity” by feminists, it needs to include the group who are often *never* thought of as feminine. Exclusion from femininity and/or exclusion from full acceptance and participation in feminism is the barrier that hits us first.
Because there are extended wars being conducted and triage technology has improved a great deal ….many more soldiers, men and women alike are coming home with impairments.
There’s been the Walter Reed debacle and widening criticism that the VA network, already overextended, will simply be unable to address the needs of the returning veterans….
I’m watching this from a different angle.
There are divisions on top of divisions in the disability community that, in my judgement are one of the factors in the slow nature of positive change for the community as a whole.
When one of the “Murderball” subjects stated fairly clearly that one of the factors in his disabling accident was “male pattern foolishness,” I thought: Is it just me or are those types of accidents/injuries more understood by men, because they [anecdotally speaking] happen to men more often? And does that mean that when our government plans for “disability,” it has the single template of the “accidental spinal cord injury victim” as the pattern around which any aid or rehab gets designed?
If that’s so, the war veterans will bring yet another pattern that has to be adjusted to and adapted to and *served* as soon as possible.
And that will be another division. I’ve no doubt that those whose impairments result from military service are given more respect, more acceptance of their newfound limitations than civilians with impairments. I’m not arguing that they should not, I’m stating that difference as problematic for the rest of us.
Will this mean a widening of the different views of impaired women versus impaired men? I believe that for the most part it will. (except for military women, who I believe will recieve the same amount of respect and support that their male counterparts do, if they come home to the States with impairments due to the war.)
If women with impairments, the rest of the civilian disabled, and the military disabled could instead find common ground and mutual benefit…that would be another example of why we *all* need homes of Universal design, access to housing, education and (where possible) employment. The support our disabled soldiers recieve should be a teaching tool of what’s needed for the disability community as a whole, not something that is never considered for civilians with impairments.
…Just wondering how this will be handled over time…
Via the Justice for All Listserv: Another good distillation.
Put “disability rights” in quotes, whenever we say something they disagree with?
Happened in the comment thread at Pandagon, and sorry for such a short post, but I’m a bit curt and short tempered anyhow and when **** tactics like this are made to minimize disability rights concerns in any debate, be they left or right…
or “you people,” the favorite (not) phrase of anyone who has ever worked in a call center…to get that self righteous tone… applied.
Stick to the issue.
Don’t metaphorically *pat us on the head* when we agree with any common cause and then use grammar to put us at the childrens table.