An essay

Jan. 7th, 2012 05:34 pm
trouble: Sketch of Hermoine from Harry Potter with "Bookworms will rule the world (after we finish the background reading)" on it (Default)
[personal profile] trouble posting in [community profile] 25book_pwd
NO DISABILITY AT THE FINAL FRONTIER: SCIENCE FICTION, CURES, AND ELIMINATIONISM by s.e. smith at This ain't livin'.

This essay discusses Miles Vorkosigan and Bujold's writing. (I was never able to get into Bujold so I have no opinion.)

Date: 2012-01-07 11:11 pm (UTC)
subluxate: Sophia Bush leaning against a piano (Default)
From: [personal profile] subluxate
Frankly, I personally dislike posts like that. She has quotes around the word "suffer" at one point, like every disability does not include suffering, and that's just one of the problems I have.

I woke up this morning to a subluxated kneecap. I went to the bathroom after I put it back into place, and while I was sitting down, my hip subluxated. My left wrist feels loose; my left ankle burns like fire if I take off my brace. Right now, I'm hurting so badly that when I have to go to the bathroom, I'm probably going to delay. I haven't showered since last Saturday because my pain flare has been too bad. So yeah, my disabilities do cause suffering, and if there was a cure (at least for the physical ones), I'd take it--because this is my pain level on methadone.

I like seeing people with disabilities in fiction, yes, but I completely understand the curative ideas in futuristic scifi. I get it completely. Erasing the idea of injury-induced disabilities, let alone mental health ones, are more problematic to me than healing inborn problems--it ignores that things like war, or concussions, or what have you do cause problems, and it ignores that correcting mental health problems is far, far more difficult than physical ones. However, if stem cell therapy was available to correct my defective collagen, you can bet I'd take it. Hell, I get the prenatal genetic testing--it happens now. It's a matter of choice, and even if people find the reason behind the choice to abort problematic, it's still choice. (It's a completely different matter if there is forced abortion of fetuses with genetic conditions.)

The insistence upon embracing one's disabilities is pretty problematic to me, too; I've accepted it, but that doesn't mean I like it. It rings too close to the icky "inspirational disabled" trope.

Date: 2012-01-08 03:08 am (UTC)
jeshyr: Blessed are the broken. Harry Potter. (Default)
From: [personal profile] jeshyr
The article was really interesting, thanks!

I haven't read the Ship books for 20+ years either so I'm probably 100% wrong on facts but the feeling/memory I took away from them was completely different - my impression was that the Ships gave an option to people who otherwise would have not survived or would have survived but been extremely dependent on others. So the Ships were given these wonderful options that would not have otherwise been available. I'm NOT saying one of our readings is right and one is wrong, just that it's fascinating that we took away almost entirely opposite impressions!

From the article itself I just heard her saying that it's sad that people, especially young people, who have to deal with their real disabilities now it sucks that SF doesn't give us (many) role models. That's something I agree with completely.

Date: 2012-01-08 07:31 am (UTC)
jeshyr: Blessed are the broken. Harry Potter. (Default)
From: [personal profile] jeshyr
I don't only want examples of Perfectly Well Adjusted People With Disabilities Who Never Have Angst, I just want... more examples of a variety of ways people can be disabled and how people can react to it. I feel like there's just so few stories told, when there are so many more that can be.

This. So very much this!

Date: 2012-01-08 08:09 am (UTC)
revena: Drawing of me (Default)
From: [personal profile] revena
DS9 had a couple of characters with disabilities and/or disability analogues, iirc, and the handling was sometimes pretty awesome. Sometimes less so! A better job with disability than the majority of the other scifi shows I've seen, though.

Date: 2012-01-08 08:16 am (UTC)
revena: Drawing of me (Default)
From: [personal profile] revena
(BECAUSE HE IS AWESOME)

I want to do a rewatch, myself. Without having done so or looking anything up on Memory Alpha or anything, though, the two disability things that I pretty clearly remember are that there was a one-shot character early in the series - possibly first season - who used braces to get around in environments with higher gravity than she was born in, and there were several characters in a couple of episodes who basically read as autistic (at least to me).

Date: 2012-01-08 08:26 am (UTC)
revena: Drawing of me (Default)
From: [personal profile] revena
Radpants! I totally remembered that episode as being about Julian learning a Very Special Lesson, though. Weird. Now I guess I really do have to watch DS9 again. Oh noes!

+1

Date: 2012-01-08 05:50 am (UTC)
thejeopardymaze: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thejeopardymaze
I'm disabled myself, and have suffered a fair amount of additional health problems the past few years. A cure for the alcohol poisoning my brain still has yet to heal completely from hardly qualifies as eliminationist; and then there is the ADD (which I was born with), which is worse for me education-wise than that other thing I was born with.

My problems are mild, of course, in comparison to the health problems my other friends with disabilities have.

I support disability rights, but I don't think I can really participate in places where difficulties associated with being disabled is played down to the point its solipsistic, if it's really that easy then why even bother with disability as a category to begin with? Normally I'm against complaints about political correctness, but I really don't like the direction of the disability rights blogosphere was went over the years.


Pre-ETA: The fact that it's S. E. Smith who wants people to believe words like weak and -wit are ableist words and so many people agree with her is one of the many reasons I've found it best to keep myself at a distance from it too. Tons of disabled people think it's laughable, but apparently we're all self-hating if we disagree, or so I've noticed in some sectors of the anti-ableist areas of the social justice blogosphere.


The insistence upon embracing one's disabilities is pretty problematic to me, too; I've accepted it, but that doesn't mean I like it. It rings too close to the icky "inspirational disabled" trope.

It's a part of who I am since birth, so I can't imagine it any other way, but embrace it? Why embrace a deficit? I never understood that. I understand embracing one's accomplishments, but not that.

Re: +1

Date: 2012-01-08 07:28 am (UTC)
thejeopardymaze: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thejeopardymaze
I probably have to update myself on gender terminology a bit-is 'ou' recent? I'm a bit out of the loop about this kind of thing from the past few years.

Re: +1

Date: 2012-01-08 07:49 am (UTC)
thejeopardymaze: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thejeopardymaze
A lot of it-for me at least-has to do with the problem of stripping language to a point I really don't care for. This isn't to say some words shouldn't go, such as mongoloid, I have a lot of problems with the use words like that too. But judging hundreds if not thousands of words simply due to long dead etymologies mixed with the feeling you have to act like you're walking on eggshells just to avoid being jumped on and corrected and judged almost makes me miss the old days of the internet where disabled people were complaining about the non-disabled worrying about whether 'what are you, blind/deaf?' was offensive or not, now it's the other way around. There is Cult of Nice factor in it, I think it's far too useful to use that to shut people up who appear angry and disagree. At least that's part of my theory. So whatever useful things I have to say will just have to wait, but not for those circles, and face it's not like I'm that much of a nice warm touchy-feely person in general to begin with.

Date: 2012-01-08 08:45 am (UTC)
elialshadowpine: (Default)
From: [personal profile] elialshadowpine
I felt similarly when there was a lot of criticism over James Cameron's Avatar. A lot of disability activists were criticizing the movie because of 1) the fact that Jake hadn't come to terms with his disability and still wanted to get better, and 2) that he ended up cured in the end. While I don't mind criticism on #2 because it happens in almost every damn SF/F story out there, it really fucking bothered me that so many people were saying that a character who had become disabled within the last year should not only have come to terms with his disability, he should like being disabled, he should have embraced it, he should accept it as a fundamental of his identity.

I also find that attitude way too close to the "supercrip"/"inspirational" thing as well. I have fibromyalgia, diagnosed in 2004, along with a lot of other problems that have been diagnosed since then. If someone could flip a switch and make me all better? DAMN FUCKING RIGHT, I'D TAKE IT. Because being in constant, chronic, delibitating pain FUCKING SUCKS.

Date: 2012-01-08 09:01 am (UTC)
elialshadowpine: (Default)
From: [personal profile] elialshadowpine
And that's a valid criticism. Criticizing why the authors decided to do it one way is one thing entirely. Criticizing that we don't get more than just this one type of story -- totally with you.

Criticizing a character within that type of story that acts entirely realistically in ways that are incredibly invalidating and dismissive of other PWDs, not cool.

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