In the wake of Stephen Hawking’s passing on Wednesday, many tributes have followed a common theme: that in death, Hawking has been “freed” from his disability. In an op-ed for Vogue, Keah Brown points out the ableism inherent in those sentiments.
I was talking with a group of guy friends recently, the sole woman amid a collection of dudes as they stream-of-consciousness workshopped their way to understanding the ongoing storm of sexual harassment accusations. It’s not a pleasant position to be in — I was glad to be able to help them understand things, but thinking about that stuff at that level and having to articulate it that way was exhausting and also made me want to go home and take, like, twelve showers. But they and others have asked what they need to know and what insights they need to have when discussing sexual harassment with women. So here’s some.
I haven’t been shy about discussing my mental health on this blog. There’s a lot of privilege behind that — I know that I’m probably not going to suffer ill effects to my life or livelihood if people know about it. That isn’t the case for everyone with mental illnesses, and I would never insist that anyone come forward to talk about theirs if they aren’t comfortable doing so. That’s one reason I talk about it: Because I can, and it needs to be talked about.
In Las Vegas Sunday night, a gunman in the Mandalay Bay hotel used many, many automatic weapons to rain fire on fans at a country music festival, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500. We currently have absolutely no idea why. And while it’s natural to speculate and distance ourselves when we’re scared and confused, declaring it a mental health issue without evidence indicating that it’s so isn’t helpful to anyone and is actively harmful to people with mental illnesses.
[Trigger warning for ableist slur]
Do you remember when Donald Trump struck out at New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski by mocking him during a campaign speech? Kovaleski committed the dual sins of having arthrogryposis, a congenital joint contracture, and for calling bullshit on Trump’s claims that thousands of Muslims were celebrating in New York after 9/11. Trump later denied that he was mocking Kovaleski, saying that his twitching, flailing, stammering impersonation was actually “mimick[ing] what [he] thought would be a flustered reporter[.].” In her new book, In Trump We Trust, Ann Coulter agrees that he wasn’t mocking Kovaleski, but her position is that he was doing an impersonation of a “standard…” No, I just can’t.
Guest Post by Malinda: “It wasn’t long into my adult life when I lost my daughter to Spina Bifida, very unexpectedly. Not only was the pregnancy unexpected, but so was her death. And I found myself thrust into a completely different part of life, in uncharted waters. At 20-years-old I had an immense amount of grief to learn to cope with; but at the same time I needed to find my way back to “normal” life, whatever that may be.”
I want to maintain Feministe’s proud tradition of attacking anti-vaxers, because these people are the scum of the earth. These are the people who have benefitted most from modern medical advances, but who not only refuse to protect their own…
[Content note: sexual abuse, ableism]
In 2010, a 9-year-old, developmentally disabled girl at a school in Los Angeles was sexually assaulted on five different occasions by a fellow student during an after-school program. When her parents sued the LAUSD, the district’s expert witness, celebrity psychologist Dr. Stan Katz, testified that her low IQ reduced the amount of emotional stress the girl suffered, acting as a “protective factor.”
Here is one that I imagine will be thoroughly unpopular around these parts: Why trigger warnings are a bad idea on college campuses.
The state of North Carolina has passed a $10 million compensation plan for victims of its eugenics program, which ran from 1929 to 1974. It’s estimated that 7,600 people were forcibly sterilized under the program; 177 have since been identified.
[Strong content note for ableism and racism]
Feministe friend and former guest blogger Monica Potts takes a look at the decrease in life expectancy for low-income whites in the Southern United States. She doesn’t come away with any definitive answers, but paints a picture of desolation, few opportunities and lack of access to decent health care and good food as potential culprits. It is a heart-breaking must-read.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was put up for a vote in the U.S. Senate today, and despite being largely uncontroversial, it failed. Why? Pro-lifers.