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 peopleâ€™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 â€œneed for helpâ€ 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 whoâ€™s been staring at me for the past fifteen minutes, trying to get my attention, is now three inches away from my face because heâ€™s â€œtrying to helpâ€ get the buckles off my chair. HEâ€™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.