Yesterday morning, as I was drinking my first cup of tea I was checking my facebook. Facebook recently is sort of a mine of pain and agony. On Monday, it was white feminists defending blackface because it was being used for cosplay. Yesterday, it had to do with disability.
You see, a series of illustrations designed to say “It’s ok to be who you are” to women of various backgrounds. Women who are childfree. Women who choose to wear hijab (I will, by the way, delete every single comment which states that no woman can choose to wear hijab. That is not up for discussion.) Each of these pictures was meant to help women accept who they are, and to support women who are making those choices.
But when I read through it, there were no women with disabilities represented in the 9 illustrations which I saw. I left a comment stating my issue with the series of pictures, and another commenter responded, not with understanding, but with a phrase that irks me every time I hear it: “I bet if you ask the artist they’ll do it for you.”
I’m tired of having to *ask* for visibility. It feels as though I have to remind people all the time in the activism world that those of us with disabilities do exist. Fellow activists have to be reminded about the ways in which people with disabilities interact with the world.
We have to remind people that we go out in public, that telling us there’s “Only one step” isn’t good enough.
It feels as though people look through me, and others with disabilities, right up until they don’t have to. And I know, 100% that there are other groups that feel this way about their identity and how it is represented out in the world but for me? For this?
This is true of intersectional feminist groups. Whenever I talk to people about intersectionality it always ends up being boiled down simply to the notion of race. Which is wholly inaccurate and hurtful. Feminists with disabilities are an important part of the dialogue necessary in intersectional feminism, and every time that we are left out of the conversation – it ends up being the disabled who must shove their way in.
Being disabled often means forcing myself into being visible. I just wish people would see me, without my having to scream about it.