Saturday, January 11, 2014

Being A Lesson To Others

Stella Young, Australian Broadcasting Corporation - July 3, 2012
(Via the too brain fogged for this Tumblr blog).

I just re-read this great piece by Australian journalist and disability activist Stella Young, and I think I have an alternative theory of "Inspiration Porn. Its not a replacement, It's more lie an addendum.

I agree with Stella that pictures of ordinary disabled people doing ordinary things, with blandly uplifting captions attached, mainly serve to tell non-disabled people, "You think your life is hard, it could always be worse!" They are also meant to encourage non-disabled people who are discouraged for other difficulties in life. If a paraplegic live life with a smile, than your problems shouldn't be too hard to handle.

However, I think these photos ... and videos, too ... serve another purpose. I think that "Inspiration Porn" has become another ideological weapon for a group of people with a strong conviction that today's society is decadent and lazy. Instead of uplifting people (whether we agree that they should or not), "Inspiration Porn" is now just as often used to shame people perceived to be weak, lazy, or entitled ... people perceived to have had it too easy, who are now unable to face adversity. Disabled people who show minimal levels of functionality or better are object examples of how people should face adversity ... with determination, ingenuity, and toughness.

This is another reason I dislike "Inspiration Porn." I think that the "world is going to hell / kids these days" constituency is dead wrong and harmful to boot. Society has plenty of ills, and it's easy to find people who think the world owes them a living. But, that's always been the case. I especially think that the so-called "Millennials" have been getting a bad rap. So, when "inspirational" photos and videos of disabled people are used to make others feel bad about themselves, in the words of Stella Young, it "really burns my crumpets".