Attractiveness, Disabilities, and Feminism

There is a post on feminist_rage today on a topic I haven’t read about before: the intersection of ablism, sexism, and attractiveness. LiveJournal user mahlia miles writes about being a conventionally attractive woman using a wheelchair, faced with chivalry and masculine entitlement:

I hate feeling like a side show. As a pretty woman in a wheelchair, boy, I am quite the novelty in people’s day.

I sometimes see ablism–power and prejudice over those perceived as having a disability–included in lists of forms of oppression. But it’s still to easy to forget how having a disability can intersect with other the other -isms because people with disabilities are all too often rendered invisible by the rest of society.

I fucking HATE the fact that men have used my disability and “need for help” to get close to me. The next fucker who puts his hands on my chair, trying to get his good-citizen jollies and maybe a phone number, is going to get yelled at publicly on a city bus. I hate the feeling of looking over and realizing that the guy who’s been staring at me for the past fifteen minutes, trying to get my attention, is now three inches away from my face because he’s “trying to help” get the buckles off my chair. HE’S TOUCHING MY CHAIR, which is a hell of a lot like TOUCHING ME.

Shout back! Challenge the stereotypes marginalized people are expected to fill. And to that “nice guy”: using a wheelchair is not an invitation to invade someone else’s space. Helping someone, when asked, is polite. Being polite is fine, but it does not entitle you to anything, including touching someone without her invitation.

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This entry was posted in Gender Cultism, Gender issues, The Evil -ism's. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Attractiveness, Disabilities, and Feminism

  1. Pingback: ThinkNaughty » Disability and the Male Gaze

  2. Pingback: Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Link Farm and Open Thread #9

  3. myrage says:

    I’m not an “attractive” woman (I don’t consider I am), and if I’m disabled, I’m thankfully not in an armchair. But I know how it feels… “May I help you?”, or sometimes it’s so much quicker… “Do you want to get a drink with me?” Just because I’m disabled, I should be thankful they even ask…
    And it feels weird, too, when you get in the bus and feel lifted up by unknown male hands. If he had’nt been in his 60’s, and just looked like a nice old grandda’, I would have slaped him in the face.
    But sometimes, you wish you would not react that way, when a nice man you DO like offers you an arm. “No, thanks, I’m fine…” Just not to be too close to him, but what if that’s what He wanted?
    Anyway, I wish we got indeed more respect from people.

  4. Lake Desire says:

    Whoa, people you’ve just met ask you if you’d like to get a drink? Funny how they seem to think you are desperate, like you need a man to feel complete and are willing to settle for less. Whatever the case, I see why you feel like you aren’t respected. That’s a really patronizing way to treat someone.

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