disability · disabled

Inspiration Porn

Well, its that time of year. The time where you’ll turn on the news to see an “inspiring story” about an able-bodied person asking their disabled classmate to prom and how they feel so wonderful for doing it.

Here’s a newsflash for you, disabled people don’t exist for you to feel better about yourselves! We don’t exist so that you can ask us to prom and be featured on the news, we don’t exist to make you feel good about yourself, we don’t exist to be praised for doing things “despite our disabilities”, and we don’t exist to be your inspiration.

Inspiration Porn is a term that Stella Young started using, you can look up the video on YouTube, but sadly it is not captioned. (Here is one by the ever so fabulous Annie Elainey) Inspiration Porn is a term used to describe the way people call disabled people “inspirational” just for living our lives. You know those memes with a picture of a person in a wheelchair at the gym with the caption “what’s your excuse”? Or the one with the little girl with a prosthetic leg with a guy with a prosthetic leg saying “the only disability in life is a bad attitude”? Or ones using people with a prosthesis running, again with the statement “what’s your excuse”? Or all those videos and articles about people doing things despite their deafness? I bet you know what I’m talking about. These exist just so that you can feel better about yourself.

It seems as though the only way able-bodied people feel comfortable talking about disabled people is in a way that the disabled person can be used as motivation or inspiration. We often aren’t talked about as every day people living our lives. At least not in the headlines you see. The objectification of disabled people is gross. It seems like we only make the news if someone does something “nice” for us, or if we “overcome” something.

Imagine walking around a store, using a cane, and having a random person come up and tell you how “inspiring” you are…just for doing something you do every day. Or for using your voice, when you are more comfortable using ASL. Or for when you tell someone that you listen to music even through hearing loss. Or being featured on the news because an able-bodied classmate asked you to prom. Or seeing yourself as a meme online serving as motivation for able-bodied people to go to the gym.

The things that disabled people do every day are not to inspire you. Our existence should not be an inspiration to you. The fact that we got up and got dressed in the morning should not inspire you. And doing ordinary things like this should not be newsworthy.

I should be allowed to be a sweaty mess at the gym without being labeled an “inspiration”, or listen to music without it being “despite my deafness”, or use my voice without being praised for doing so, or using my cane in public. I should be able to live my life without you seeing every little action as inspiring. Disabled people should be able to live their lives without making able-bodied people feel better about themselves.

I am NOT your inspiration, and I will never live to be your inspiration.

 

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