“The reason people don’t go for help is because there is still stigma. People don’t talk about mental illnesses the way they do other illnesses.” [Maria Bamford] launches into impressions of people talking about physical maladies the way they talk about depression:
“Apparently Steve has cancer. It’s like, fuck off! We all have cancer.”
“I was dating this chick all this time and she let me know she’s been wearing contact lenses. I said whoa, do what you need to do but I don’t believe in all that Western medicine shit. If you wanna see like other people it’s all about attitude. You gotta want it.”
Lots of thoughts and feelings about this, especially in light of the thing on Slate a few days ago saying “wait, more than 50% of Americans now have a mental illness, what does that mean?” I really hope we can move toward a model of understanding that mental illness is socially constructed in the same way that all illness is socially constructed—that there is a subjective experience, and then that experience is interpreted through a cultural lens. Maybe I’ll write more when I’m not on my phone…?
“Employers are still catching on to the fact that the needs of most workers with disabilities aren’t special, but employees with disabilities often bring specialized skills to the workplace,” Rosen said. “Perhaps no one knows how to adapt, think critically or find solutions better than someone who has to do so daily in order to navigate a world that wasn’t built with them in mind.”
Interesting article. Disappointed that invisible disabilities (e.g. mental illness, chronic pain conditions) weren’t discussed explicitly.
Wealthy musician Amanda Palmer, who last year raised $1.2 million on Kickstarter to produce and release a record, recently used a TED talk to expand on the idea that artists should be willing to work for free. After relaying a story about how she used to be a street performer, Palmer, who is married to a very successful author named Neil Gaiman, told an audience of people who’d paid $7,500 apiece to be there that musicians shouldn’t “make” people pay for their work, but rather “let” people pay for their work. She also explained that she found it virtuous when a family of undocumented immigrants huddled together on their couch for a night so that she and her band could have their beds, because her music and presence was a fair exchange for the family’s comfort. After about 13 minutes of explaining why she is content with people giving her things, Palmer received a standing ovation.”
FYI, this is why Amanda Palmer is a giant SHITMONSTER.
All while she and her fans rally around her right to perpetuate ableism and appropriate native cultures in order to sell records, and SHAME ON ANY OF US OUT THERE FOR JUDGING HER FOR IT IN ANY WAY.
Let’s not forget the time she faked suicide “for art” and the whole conjoined twins thing. I enjoy some of her music, but I sure as hell don’t like her as a person.
Let’s take a moment to marvel at how a group of disability activists (and specifically annaham who was targeted for her work) working for free on the internet became the horrible awful enemy being mean to a wealthy and popular musician, who used her fame to swing the tide of the conversation against them.
Even to the point that she mocked them openly on an Australian morning show.
Just your daily reminder that I hate Amanda Palmer.
Another myth that is firmly upheld is that disabled people are dependent and non-disabled people are independent. No one is actually independent. This is a myth perpetuated by disablism and driven by capitalism - we are all actually interdependent. Chances are, disabled or not, you don’t grow all of your food. Chances are, you didn’t build the car, bike, wheelchair, subway, shoes, or bus that transports you. Chances are you didn’t construct your home. Chances are you didn’t sew your clothing (or make the fabric and thread used to sew it). The difference between the needs that many disabled people have and the needs of people who are not labelled as disabled is that non-disabled people have had their dependencies normalized. The world has been built to accommodate certain needs and call the people who need those things independent, while other needs are considered exceptional. Each of us relies on others every day. We all rely on one another for support, resources, and to meet our needs. We are all interdependent. This interdependence is not weakness; rather, it is a part of our humanity.”
Time for your periodic reminder that gun violence is a social problem, not a crazy person problem.
Thinking about intersections between fatness and disability today, because they are there, and there are many ties between ableism and fat hatred. There’s a lot of ableism in the good fatty/bad fatty dichotomy, in the obligation to be healthy put on fat folks who are told it’s okay if they’re fat as long as they are healthy, in the insistence that fat people can be fat if they’re good, if they exercise and eat the right things and check the right boxes.
And it’s interesting to see the same kind of hateful language used against both fat folks and people with disabilities (and, of course, those who share both identities). The exact same arguments are used to exclude people from public spaces, to tell them they do not belong, to insist that they are not welcome. NPR tells me that ‘one in three adults are obese’ and statistically around 20% of the population is disabled. These are not small numbers of people; fat people, and people with disabilities, are everywhere, and not going away.
Yet the same rhetoric comes up over and over and over again. ‘Drain on the system.’ ‘Lazy.’ ‘Choosing to be a burden.’ ‘Should just work harder.’ ‘Be more like the model fat/disabled person.’ ‘It’s too expensive to accommodate your needs.’ ‘Businesses would go bankrupt if they had to cater to people like you.’ ‘You must not be that fat/disabled if…’ ‘You’re being unreasonable with your expectations.’ ‘Oh, I wasn’t talking about you, dear, but the other fat/disabled people.’ ‘It’s gross, no one wants to see that.’ ‘You have to accept your limitations.’ ‘You’re setting a bad example.’
That’s why the fat and disability communities need to be working in solidarity, because we have a lot in common, and together, we could accomplish a whole heck of a lot. That’s why I proudly hold hands with my fat comrades. And that’s why I want to make sure people living at the intersection, those who are both fat and disabled, are not left out by either community.
This is a really good point & really interesting—because even when I am reading/writing about mental illness, I’m not thinking of myself as a fat crazy person, and when I’m doing fat activism, I’m not thinking about doing it as a crazy fat person. Part of it is that I’ve come really really far mental health-wise in the last year. I’ve learned to manage my anxiety really effectively and I’ve done such a good job normalizing living with anxiety that a lot of the time it’s invisible even to me. It’s only once or twice a week that something happens that makes me remember “oh, most people’s brains are NOT like this,” whereas I am constantly reminded of my fat on the bus, in the store, etc. Food for thought, for sure.
What does it mean to be “productive”?
As someone who has struggled with life-long depression, and other problems that cause a depletion of spoons, one of the ways that I’ve shamed myself most is with this idea of productivity: feeling low when I believe I haven’t been productive enough. And I hear this a lot from other people too, especially people with disabilities.
The notion of productivity is rooted in capitalist (and, it follows, ableist) ideas about an individual’s value. It is important that we be “productive”, not only when we are at work, but at all times. And what does it mean to be productive? When we are hard on ourselves for not being productive enough, what do we mean? We can try to define what productivity means for ourselves on an individual level, but I don’t believe we can separate it from the aforementioned capitalist and ableist ideas. Especially for those of us struggling with disabilities, I think this is one of the biggest, most common, and frequently unchallenged ways of internalizing ableism and perpetuating it on ourselves and others.
Defining what productivity means might be easier if we look at what it isn’t. Sitting online all day, playing games, watching television, watching movies, sleeping, relaxing, doing anything passive – I’ve seen all of these things frequently branded as “unproductive” when people criticize themselves (or others) for how they use their non-working/unstructured time. Things that don’t have a clearly defined goal. Do you have a huge to-do list that doesn’t include taking time out of the day and being kind to yourself? Do you typically not cross off most of the things on that list, and then feel upset over it, like you’ve wasted your day?
Productivity, for you, might mean engaging in active hobbies or running errands. It might mean working non-stop at multiple jobs, constant research, having several projects on the go, organizing and initiating rallies, or conducting one workshop after another. Being “productive” never includes self care. I see many creative people who are hard on themselves for not producing enough, especially if their reason for not doing so involves mental health struggles. As if we are mini assembly lines. Subconsciously comparing ourselves to mass production factories, which we will never be able to imitate because of the limitations of being a single person.
Capitalism has seeped into our lives so deeply that we don’t even realize what we’re doing when we talk about wanting to be more productive or shame ourselves for not being productive enough. We forget to take time to relax and take care of ourselves because we are so concerned with meeting quotas in our heads for productivity. Do your self-care rituals stand in opposition to your ideas of what productivity looks like? Why isn’t it productive to take care of ourselves?
Let’s stop pushing ourselves beyond our limits. Let’s fight back against this notion of productivity, against the idea that our value lies in what we “get done” every day. Let’s start working on loving ourselves as we are and giving ourselves some breathing room.
why have i never reblogged this before?
I needed to read this today. It is so relevant.
something something about how productivity is so interlinked with attraction and something something about how all my productivity these days is through self-care and in my head and working things out and getting healthy and a lot of it isn’t physical and can’t be seen and sometimes this makes me feel silly around others who are doing a lot and getting attention for it something something i don’t have many words for this yet
I beat myself up so much for not being productive. This is something I should read when I start feeling bad.
Why using my energy to do psychological work instead of put away my laundry is a valid decision.
wait but what about “medication is the easy way out”?
i almost feel bad about holding a grudge against the person who said that to me as a freshman for all four years of college and probably until i die.
Ableism must be included in our analysis of oppression and in our conversations about violence, responses to violence and ending violence. Ableism cuts across all of our movements because ableism dictates how bodies should function against a mythical norm—an able-bodied standard of white supremacy, heterosexism, sexism, economic exploitation, moral/religious beliefs, age and ability. Ableism set the stage for queer and trans people to be institutionalized as mentally disabled; for communities of color to be understood as less capable, smart and intelligent, therefore “naturally” fit for slave labor; for women’s bodies to be used to produce children, when, where and how men needed them; for people with disabilities to be seen as “disposable” in a capitalist and exploitative culture because we are not seen as “productive;” for immigrants to be thought of as a “disease” that we must “cure” because it is “weakening” our country; for violence, cycles of poverty, lack of resources and war to be used as systematic tools to construct disability in communities and entire countries.”
Mia Mingus, Moving Toward the Ugly: A Politic Beyond Desirability (via classycoochie)
This is one of my fav quotes from her speech.
The best church sign ever?
No, NOT the best chuch sign ever. The best church sign ever wouldn’t rely on ableism for cheap laughs.