Being in a wheelchair is interesting.
It’s not like the movies; that’s for sure. It’s nothing of what the entertainment industry provides to common civilians as truth.
There are ten ways the media portrays people with disabilities:
1. Inspirations. These are the people who have a disability who climb mountains… or just go to Starbucks, I guess. On the regular I will receive thumbs up from strangers for just entering the building to feed my addiction. I very rarely pay for my own tall soy Peppermint Mocha because the common civilian does not want this. I inspired him. By rolling one half block…
2. Deviant, Sinister and Evil. Villains like the dude made of glass that was like, “Holla, Bruce Willis’s train” in that one movie. You know that one movie? Oh, this is the plot of most movies involving someone disabled.
3. Victims. Vulnerable, weak, tragic objects of violence and abuse who no one talks to and they sit in their room a lot. I assume I owe a lot to this one. Without it I would not be such an inspiration for going normal places and might have to buy my own coffee.
4. Exotic Freaks. Generate feelings of horror, aversion, fear of difference, embarrassment. Like the Hydra.
5. Clowns. Comic relief, laughable appearance, funny voices, the butt of jokes, dumb and dumber, court jesters, fools. In 2nd-8th grade I went to this school, which was pretty much a school for future step-ford wives we all had to be the exact same at all times. I had to take P.E. in the administration’s opinion. In P.E. you play with balls a lot: Basketball, Dodge ball, hockey with a ball. I was hit in the head often and the mile was always really awkward, in which case I was the clown and we all made bad jokes that were funny and than everyone but me would get detention because I was pitiful and sweet.
6. Pitiful and Sweet. Pathetic, innocent, grateful for crumbs, sometimes speak gentle words of extraordinary wisdom (especially if intellectually impaired) need to be looked after, in film and fiction often finds miracle cure.
7. Twisted and Bitter. Chip on shoulder, whining, acrimonious, angry and difficult, taking out inner hurt and rage on the world, okay to ignore their concerns, pointless trying communicate with them.
8. Burden and Outcast. Costly, non-contributing burdens on society, can’t and don’t “fit in” anywhere except amongst others of same kind – should be segregated, institutionalized, provided with the bare minimum or euthanized (better off dead anyway), preferably prevented from reproducing.
9. Non-sexual. Can never be in a relationship (unless partner is pervert or martyr). My mom would tell me every boy I dated had a fetish for many years. Turns out a couple did. It made for some good stories.
10. Incapable of full participation in everyday life. Only when elevators are down. “Yeah, I’m looking at you Redline.” None of the stereotypes fit and they screw up society’s view of the disabled so much so they will label the disabled as out of order but not realize they are the toilets full of shit.
Growing up, I was a child of the night. I hid behind the stereotype that I was a nonsexual, inspirational person to be pitied and I loved it. I took advantage of the law, unsuspecting girlfriends, high school teachers whose names I cannot tell you because I skipped the entire year and I still was passed with honors.
After a while, taking advantage of the stereotype became boring. Now I just want bars to not have steps and to never ever hear the phrase, “You’re pretty hot for a crippled chick” ever again. Because guess what? Not everyone with a disability has a humped back, a missing leg, and facial scars even if they do why is that regarded as only as only “hot for”?
I don’t know how I think I can change a stereotype that has been around for always when I don’t know where I’m going next. But I won’t stop fighting it. Even if the fighting drags me into something I don’t want to be in. I don’t know why I hate the stereotype now that I once loved.
The media is the start of the stereotype problem but largely it is the disabled that allow the stereotype to exist. By putting on real shoes and exiting their homes the disabled could show common people how common we as the disabled are and help break the stereotype.