Recommended reading for May 11, 2010

sqbr at Poking at Thorns (with gloves on): Disability in Speculative Fiction: Monsters, mutants and muggles

Fiction reflects social attitudes, and the social attitudes to disabled people tend to suck. Disabled people are presented as scary, pathetic, exotic, demanding, laughable, etc. But some tropes are popular/unique to SF.

It’s not all bad: speculative fiction allows for powerful allegory, and can also make very interesting explorations/extrapolations of future attitudes/experiences of disability.

Jamer Hunt (Fast Company magazine): Our Bodies, Our Quantified Selves

The data generated by this micro-physics of the everyday has the potential to create unprecedented, massive databases available for projects from a dizzying array of fields. Imagine what researchers studying disease epidemiology might do with this information, or anthropologists exploring changing social patterns within the digital proletariat.

Courtney at From Austin to A&M: Cosplay, race, ability and gender; or, who gets to dress up as whom?

Doing cosplay as a femme!Doctor (or a black Doctor, or a visibly disabled Doctor, etc.) is part necessity (as in, I am in a lady-body, so if I want to cosplay as the Doctor, he would have to be a lady-body-Doctor, like a person in a wheelchair would have to be a wheelchair-user Doctor, or a black person would have to be a black Doctor). But it’s also a way for fans to see themselves in the Doctor, as the unquestioned protagonist of the show. Doctor Who fans can say all they like that DW is progressive enough in its way, but it’s still dated by its insistence that the main character be a white British man.

Lisa Sanders (NYT Magazine): Diagnosis — Pregnant and Pained

She didn’t have a fever, but the racking cough made her body ache all over. Her husband said it sounded as if she were coughing up a lung. Her OB said it was probably a virus. Whatever it was, it didn’t go away.

Switchin’ to Glide: “Independent Women”: Privileged Feminist Ideologies and Ableism

Independence or the pursuit thereof is a pursuit of privilege; the less that one has to depend on networks and relationships the more “successful” that person is. This is a profoundly ableist notion, in the sense that it constructs any sort of dependency as an obstacle to “success,” and because of the way our society is structured, people who are disabled are neccessarily dependent on various support systems.

3 Comments

  1. I have this huge urge now to do femme!Capt.Jack

    Mind you, I have sartorial lust for the coat he wears anyway, but they don’t come small enough off the rack (that I have found yet) and it’s not really cold enough here to make the wearing of such a coat a practical idea.

    I know where I can get some light wool fabric instead of the heavy that that coat uses… And am now trying to get my brain to shut up with the ideas for making such a coat (with a little more tailoring so it fits me), which would have to wait until I have finished the massive pile of mending sitting next to my sewing machine 😛

  2. I really appreciate the link to that article about how feminism privileges ‘independence’ to the point of being exclusionary to PWDs, and denying human interdependence. It’s something which has bugged me before but which I’ve found myself unable to articulate.

  3. Freya,
    Do you have thrift stores near you? Or you could get a coat too big and get it tailored (or tailor it yourself).

    Cosplay often displays itself as irrational urges. Give in! That’s my advice. I’m going to Gally this year as a steampunk TARDIS because, and I quote (myself), “If I could be the TARDIS and have a bustle, I would be the happiest lady in the world.”