Owning the Otherness and Allowing that to be a Source of Power

What makes something monstrous?

Unnatural proportions – too long, too many,

No eyes, or non-human eyes

Withered, bleeding things – suggestions of decay or sickness

Slimy and/or skeletal

Weapons – teeth, claws, sharp pointy things

Almost human but not quite

Lucanus elaphus Lesser_stag_beetle_larva02

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How can this become a source of strength?

To be monstrous is a good position for attack. You can intimidate and scare. You are less likely to come under attack. You are able to defend yourself.

What makes us feel pity?

There is an innate lack of respect in pity. Very few people want to be pitied, even if they want help. To be pitied suggests you have no power of your own, you are a total victim of circumstance, there is nothing you can do about it. It removes your human-ness.

Children receive it more readily

Self-pity: again, seeing ourselves as a victim, unjustly treated, ‘there’s nothing I can do the world is against me’

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How can this become a source of strength?

If people pity you they do not see your human-ness, but they are more likely to do things for you in a charitable way. If you are begging, invoking pity may get you more money. You can use a sense of guilt to manipulate people into doing things for you

Inspiration porn

Disabled people are put on a pedastool and tell people how they overcame the challenges of their disability and SO CAN YOU!

There’s nothing wrong with telling people about your experience of disability. I do it a lot! It’s the ‘freak show’ tones to it that are unhelpful. Able bodied people are not watching a fellow human describe a life, they see an ‘other’ describing a life totally beyond the grasp of ‘normal’ people. It reaffirms the ‘normalness’ of the able bodied watcher, whilst telling them to feel guilt that they haven’t done more with their lives. It suggests that to be disabled is the defining factor in disabled people’s experience, which it often isn’t. It suggests that disabled people strive to do things JUST LIKE ABLE BODIED PEOPLE, often in the form of sports. To achieve physical strength and fitness seems to be the main goal, because disability makes you weak. Obviously.

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How can this become a source of strength?

This should be the easiest of the four to gain power from, as the disabled person has the attention of many people. However, I feel it is difficult to gain power from this interaction as whatever you, the listener has already heavily coloured yours words with ableist ideology. Any respect they have for you is based on your disabled identity, not on you. I suppose you get a platform to speak on, with large audiences. You can send messages of body positivity and be a role model to disabled people who feel society has written them off.

Sexless/Genderless

This is a real challenge, as seemingly EVERYTHING in our world is gendered. Objects, flaura, fauna, minerals all seem gendered. The closest to genderless/sexless I can see is a matt, possibly plastic, human form with no genitals of sex based features (breasts, waists, hips). This is a very objectifying and dehumanising image. However, identifying as genderless ISN’T a dehumanising act. It is merely social perceptions that say a human cannot exist with a sex or a gender. For disabled people, their right to express their gender, sexuality, lust and love are suppressed. It is assumed they cannot have sex or have children. It is suggested that for them to have children would be bad because their children would also be disabled.

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How can this become a source of power?

The freedom of generlessness can be a source of power. You no longer have to adhere to gender roles and aesthetics. You are no longer valued on your ability to perform sexual acts or to reproduce. You have ownership over your body.

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