Cara Liebowitz of That Crazy Crippled Chick has some powerful things to say about beauty standards, expectations, and what many disabled bodies really looke like.
IN her latest blog post, On Being “Ugly Disabled”, Cara tackles the idea that some disabled bodies are seen as acceptable, even beautiful (physical disability as a fetish is a whole other discussion point), while others are seen as ugly.
She starts out with her trademark honesty:
“I am not one of the “pretty disabled”. I may have been close to it, once, but as I’ve gotten older and my disabilities have changed and multiplied, I have quickly moved away from any hope of “passing” as either non disabled or “prettily”, “acceptably” disabled.”
Cara challenges everything we think we know about what it means to look professional, to look like a woman, to look like other people’s ideas of what disability should look like. She challenges the idea that disabled women are only beautiful if we’re delicate, elegant in the way we move, pretty, and quiet.
She also challenges the idea that disabled people need to spend valuable energy looking “normal”: “I do not sit up straight and my posture becomes worse when I am tired or excited, which can lead to me sliding out of my seat or propping myself up with my arm to keep from falling completely over to the left (my weaker side).” (I’d hope no one should suggest that Cara should always keep from getting excited so that she can sit up “properly”.)
You can read the rest of Cara’s excellent post here.
For more of Cara’s bold, direct thoughts on disabilities and beauty standards, check out her essay Palsy Skinny: A Mixed-Up, Muddled Journey into
Size and Disability in Criptiques.