Inspiration porn is an image of a person with a disability, often a kid, doing something completely ordinary - like playing, or talking, or running, or drawing a picture, or hitting a tennis ball - carrying a caption like “your excuse is invalid” or “before you quit, try”…
Let me be clear about the intent of this inspiration porn; it’s there so that non-disabled people can put their worries into perspective. So they can go, “Oh well if that kid who doesn’t have any legs can smile while he’s having an awesome time, I should never, EVER feel bad about my life”. It’s there so that non-disabled people can look at us and think “well, it could be worse… I could be that person”.
In this way, these modified images exceptionalise and objectify those of us they claim to represent. It’s no coincidence that these genuinely adorable disabled kids in these images are never named: it doesn’t matter what their names are, they’re just there as objects of inspiration.
But using these images as feel-good tools, as “inspiration”, is based on an assumption that the people in them have terrible lives, and that it takes some extra kind of pluck or courage to live them.
For many of us, that is just not true…
Inspiration porn shames people with disabilities. It says that if we fail to be happy, to smile and to live lives that make those around us feel good, it’s because we’re not trying hard enough. Our attitude is just not positive enough. It’s our fault. Not to mention what it means for people whose disabilities are not visible, like people with chronic or mental illness, who often battle the assumption that it’s all about attitude. And we’re not allowed to be angry and upset, because then we’d be “bad” disabled people. We wouldn’t be doing our very best to “overcome” our disabilities.
I suppose it doesn’t matter what inspiration porn says to us as people with disabilities. It’s not actually about us. Disability is complex. You can’t sum it up in a cute picture with a heart-warming quote.
So next time you’re tempted to share that picture of an adorable kid with a disability to make your Facebook friends feel good, just take a second to consider why you’re really clicking that button.
- Stella Young, editor of Ramp Up, provides an excellent critique of able-bodied social media discourses of disability. Her analysis also represents a thoughtful discussion of social privilege. Read the whole article on the ABC.
Retired Greens Senator Bob Brown says Australia got the Prime Minister we voted for… but before you decry that you didn’t vote for Tony Abbott, don’t fall into complacency or fatalism. Brown says the Australian public can still exercise choice and have our voices heard.
There’s an ennui or a feeling of ‘Why bother?’ or even fatalism — that action doesn’t make any difference — which has to be gotten over. Because if people in wealthy countries like Australia can’t be motivated to get out and defend the future of the planet, and people on the planet, and life on the planet, you can’t ask others to do it.
Via New Matilda. Read the whole article, it’s great.
This is an excellent essay by Deputy Executive Director of Buzzfeed, Shani O. Hilton. Hilton deconstructs the problem of talking about “Black films” as a genre, including similar euphemisms: “race-themed,” “African-American-themed,” “Black-themed,” and “ethnically diverse.” Hilton notes that films that include a few African American actors does not mean it is “ethnically diverse.”
Hilton also raises issues of gender and class. Most so-called “Black films” are centrally stories about men directed by men. African American women directors have even more problems than their male counterparts getting their films recognised. Also, “Black films” tend to portray working class or struggling characters, and so well-educated, middle-class African Americans are largely absent from widely released films.
There’s a great discussion about the possibilities of new distribution and funding methods to increase the types of films that are made.
I highly recommend you read the whole thing on Buzzfeed and discuss!
"Race" is called an ideological construction, and not just a social construction, because the idea of "race" has never existed outside of a framework of group interest. As a nineteenth-century pseudoscientific theory, as well as in ceontemporary "popular" thinking, the notion of "race" is inherently part of a "model" of asymmetrically organised "races" in which Whites rank higher than "non-Whites."
#Sociology: “the excitement of finding the familiar becoming transformed in its meaning.” This quote by Peter Berger is often confused with “Seeing the general in the particular.” The latter is actually a phrase coined by John Macionis and Ken Plummer in “Sociology: A Global Perspective.” In “Invitation to #Sociology” Berger goes on to write: “The fascination of sociology lies on the fact that its perspective makes us see in a new light the very #world in which we have lived all our lives.” #visualsociology #society #theory #socialscience #pearson #prenticehall #quote #book
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five.
- Source: zeezeescorner
Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both
Today’s sociology quote is from C. Wright Mills’ classic, The Sociological Imagination. Mills argues that people sometimes feel “trapped” by their troubles or their personal circumstances . For example, people have obligations to their families, they have commitments at work, their actions are restricted by fear of gossip in their friendship groups, or they might feel as if they have to live their lives in particular ways because society forces this upon us. At the same time, most people understand their lives as being unique. Falling in love, the type of jobs we end up pursuing or those we miss out on, the decision to live alone or the types of families we form - these are all choices that are mediated (or shaped) by the the time and place we live. People rarely think about their life choices - nor the lives of others - as the outcome of institutions and history. Societies have a tendency to view certain lives negatively: being homeless, being unemployed, teen pregnancies, addiction, incarceration - people often blame the individual for pathways that “deviate” from the norm.
Some people might think about a handful of external influences as having direct impact on their lives - religion, family or perhaps the media - but they do not always see the complex interplay between various social forces. Sociology makes this connection between the individual (biography) and broader social structures. This is why Mills says that in order to understand an individual we must understand history and vice versa.
Hat tip to Mitch Diatz on Flickr for the original photo.
- Source: zeezeescorner
Prewitt became pregnant from a rape when she was 21 years old. She wrote this open letter to Todd Akin sharing her story about how the rape impacted her and why she chose to have the baby. Prewitt became an attorney who now advocates for the rights of rape survivors.
- Source: zeezeescorner