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Goodbye From FWD

Dear Readers:

We agreed when we began that this site wouldn’t run indefinitely, that we would move aside when the time has come, and that time has come.

Long before FWD was even imagined, people were writing about disability and feminism, in spaces across the Internet, coming from a variety of lived experiences and beliefs. In the last year, we’ve noticed an explosion of new disability blogs, and an increased interest in disability issues at sites labeling themselves explicitly as feminist. This has been tremendously exciting to watch, as one of our goals was to join the ongoing conversation about feminism and disability, to amplify voices that weren’t being heard, to, yes, be part of the way forward towards a more intersectional discussion on feminism and disability.

It is time for FWD, in turn, to make way for the many fantastic people who have things to say that you need to know about, some of whom you can find in our blogroll. Many of the FWD contributors will continue covering disability, as well as many other issues, in a variety of venues, but our writing will no longer continue in this location. FWD/Forward itself will be maintained as an archive and resource so people can continue to access the content here, although comments will be closed.

Thank you,

The FWD/Forward Staff

By 1 January, 2011.    administrivia   

FWD Retrospective Week: FWD Elsewhere Edition

Welcome to FWD retrospective week! We’ve taking a look back at some of our favourite posts on a variety of themes over the next week.

Read more: FWD Retrospective Week: FWD Elsewhere Edition

By 31 December, 2010.    recommended reading   

FWD Retrospective Week: Guest Posts Edition

Welcome to FWD retrospective week! We’ve taking a look back at some of our favourite posts on a variety of themes over the next week.

Read more: FWD Retrospective Week: Guest Posts Edition

By 30 December, 2010.    guest post, recommended reading   

FWD Retrospective Week: Policy Edition

Welcome to FWD retrospective week! We’ve taking a look back at some of our favourite posts on a variety of themes over the next week.

Read more: FWD Retrospective Week: Policy Edition

By 29 December, 2010.    policy, recommended reading   

FWD Retrospective Week: Accessibility Edition

Welcome to FWD retrospective week! We’ve taking a look back at some of our favourite posts on a variety of themes over the next week.

Read more: FWD Retrospective Week: Accessibility Edition

By 28 December, 2010.    accessibility, recommended reading   

FWD Retrospective Week: Pop Culture Edition

Welcome to FWD retrospective week! We’ve taking a look back at some of our favourite posts on a variety of themes over the next week.

Read more: FWD Retrospective Week: Pop Culture Edition

By 27 December, 2010.    media and pop culture, recommended reading   

FWD Retrospective Week: Reviews Edition

Welcome to FWD retrospective week! We’ve taking a look back at some of our favourite posts on a variety of themes over the next week.


Film Review: HBO’s “Kevorkian”

The entire film is framed by Kevorkian’s ill-fated 2008 bid for a congressional seat representing the state of Michigan –  his platform, as the film shows it, leans heavily on the Ninth Amendment — but his congressional hopes are not the most interesting or thought-provoking part of the film. Almost paradoxically, the most interesting part of this documentary is the fact that Kevorkian does a pretty excellent job of not coming across as particularly sympathetic, something that a viewer might not glean from the film’s trailer.


“Defiant Birth”: Impolite Women Who Didn’t Make History

All of the women in the book have chosen to continue pregnancies against medical advice. The medical advice is based on something about the pregnancy falling outside of the very narrow “norm” – the women’s disabilities, their “elderly” ages, a diagnosis (or misdiagnosis) of a fetus labelled “defective”.

Seven reactions to reviews of Rachel Axler’s “Smudge”

3. Having a child with a disability isn’t an “unthinkable” “nightmarish” experience with a “monster”. See point one.


Bloody Torchwood

All I can think of is the complete ignorance of the experiences of families with disabilities, whose children do scream and scream and scream, or do some other harming activity, because of their disability, and their parents love them anyway. I think about how this is another episode of television that’s used a person with a disability as a way for the non-disabled to learn something about themselves.

I think about how they decided disability and deformity would be their stand-in for horrible and unimaginable.

Disability & Television: Joan of Arcadia

This what portraying disability in a “positive” light looks like to me. Making Kevin totally cool with everything that had happened, ignoring the way that families heal after sudden and unexpected changes, would be dismissing the realities of so many people. Showing Kevin as some sort of prop to Joan’s growing self-awareness would be insulting, and he obviously has his own story-line and things he needs to deal with. He doesn’t need to be a hero, or good at everything he tries. He just needs to be a person.


Film Review: Beyond Words

The two main, unnamed characters in the film are a deaf woman (Charlotte Gregg) and a blind man (Gyton Grantley). The film alternates between their perspectives, which makes for interesting (and probably not absolutely fantastic, but I’ll get to that) viewing/listening. During the deaf character’s parts, the sound adjusts to fit her perspective, and during the blind character’s parts, the visuals adjust to his.

Some Thoughts on The Time Traveler’s Wife

But what I found most strange in the discrepancy between the book and the film was Henry’s attitude. In the book, Henry is largely miserable once he loses his legs. In the film, Henry is a Good Cripple. It’s a pretty big contrast, and again the film takes out emotional complexity and loses the opportunity to highlight the marginal.

Book Review: Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Look, there’s lots I could talk about in this review: what I found to be a half-baked treatment of race, the truly gorgeous worldbuilding, many “what the pancake” moments, some of the most rounded characters I’ve found in fiction. But I think the treatment of Elphaba’s sister, Nessarose, in terms of her being disabled, needs a whole review to itself.

By 26 December, 2010.    recommended reading   

FWD Retrospective Week: Disability Narratives Edition

Welcome to FWD retrospective week! We’ve taking a look back at some of our favourite posts on a variety of themes over the next week.


Lucky for us, there’s money to be thrown

One of the many, many things that bothers me about disability & accessibility is how many of the problems can be solved by throwing money at them.


I  Hope You Feel Better

I have a chronic disease that isn’t curable and I have not heard of it going into remission. This is not temporary. Sometimes the symptoms are excruciating. Sometimes the symptoms aren’t so bad. They never go away. Even if I never feel any better than I do right now my life will still be worth living and I’ll still be happy and I’ll be okay because I work really hard at living my life and being as happy as I can in it. For me it includes accepting that I will not get better. It also includes some complaining about feeling rotten because accepting that I won’t get better doesn’t turn it into rainbow-flavored unicorn shit.

s.e. smith:

Working Towards the Neutral Place

It’s about creating a space for everyone, a space where people can self identify how they like, and feel the way they like, without being judged or shamed not just by society, but also by fellow people with disabilities. There is room for all identities and lines of thought in a world where disability is a neutral identity, and people are allowed to shape it and feel about it the way they want to, rather than being pressured to perform, think, and believe in a particular way for the benefit of others.

Whose Voices?

It’s not that our voices aren’t out there. It’s not that it’s impossible to find people with disabilities to write about disability and to write about their experiences. It’s that our voices are rarely centred beyond the disability community. We are rarely asked, for example, to write about our own disability for the Washington Post. We are rarely profiled by the Daily Mail. The media wants to talk to the people who live and work with us, with our friends, but they do not want to talk to us.


Teeny Little Super-Meta: The things I can’t write about

Writing publicly about these things, on the other hand, may get me comments that I do not particularly want to face. This could not have happened. How do we know you’re not just making this up? Do you always have to write about yourself? Let’s look at this objectively. Why can’t you focus on something more important? I’m sure they didn’t mean it like that. Why can’t you just let it go? It was so long ago, anyway. We all have difficulties, what makes you so special? Who do you think you are?


There are a lot of people who seem to subscribe to the “just-world” theory of events — that is, anyone who has anything bad happen to them has done something to “deserve” it. One sees this attitude thrown around quite a bit in relation to disability and illness — for the smoker who gets lung cancer, for some people who become severely disabled due to accidents, for the “angry” or “repressed” person who is diagnosed with a deadly illness. One sees it in so-called New Age “theories” of illness — that illness is a physical manifestation of bad karma or some other buzz-word often appropriated from a non-Western belief system.

Reactions, part two: Social aspects

In that interaction lies one of the most crucial issues regarding the way many people with disabilities are treated: Those of us with potentially life-threatening health conditions are never to be trusted. Those of us with chronic health conditions are never to be trusted. Those of us with disabilities must be faking it to get attention, to gain the upper hand in whatever way we can. We must be using our conditions as excuses to get pity from those close to us, or from anyone, really. We must be faking — things can’t really be that bad. That dire. That frightening to us and those who are close to us.

Go educate yourself (please!)

For me personally, the willingness that I “should” have to help well-meaning folks learn is also an energy issue. I am a person with disabilities, several of which I have written about at length on this website — and one of which is a pain condition subject to flare-ups. Thus, I have to manage my time and energy extremely carefully. Having to explain basic concepts over and over again to strangers on the internet because they’ve deigned to tell me that they “want” to learn — and some of whom may think, by extension, that they are somehow entitled to my time and energy — takes work. Writing takes work; additionally, a lot of bloggers do the blogging and responding to comments thing for free, on their own time.


Reclamation: thoughts from a fat hairy uppity lame bitch

This post started with me suggesting a FAQ on reclamation for the “Finally, a Feminism 101 Blog” blog: “But there’s a whole feminist magazine called Bitch and a book called The Ethical Slut, so why can’t I call you a slutty bitch?”

For Cereal, Jessica at Jezebel? PTSD after obstetric assault is “hysterical”?

[WARNING: descriptions of obstetric rape and PTSD]


Only you know your own experience

I’m telling you this story so you know something very important. Medical professionals are people, with their own biases and experiences. Sometimes they will make mistakes and the wrong judgments. They will try to fit you into convenient boxes, tell you things about yourself that just aren’t true.

Disability is not your analogy

Disability is not your cute fun analogy. You know why? Disability is its own thing all by itself. Disability is a part of many people’s lives and identities, it’s an experience in the world, a political one, a personal one, a sensitive one, a serious one. It is not a sweet little term you can charmingly appropriate for whatever other purpose pops into your head.


Those are your limits: you cannot understand people like us outside of your framework. You are trying to limit us with your ideas of who we can be.

I will not fit your limited narrative. I tell my own story, giving shape to my own experience.

On Centring Caregivers in Disability Discourse

It’s really off-putting when a group of disabled people are trying to have a conversation and a caregiver butts in with “you’re wrong. I know, because I care for someone with such and such a disability”. This makes me squirm. Even worse are those disability organisations or charities that have only parents and caregivers on their boards. “Oh, but it’s all right, my brother has this condition. In fact, we all have family members with this condition!”

By 25 December, 2010.    recommended reading   

s.e. and abby Chat About Books: The Summoning

This weekend, s.e. and abby both read The Summoning, by Kelley Armstrong. Rather than fighting over which one got to review it, they decided to have a chat instead! Here’s the synopsis from the publisher, and be advised that mild spoilers lie beyond!

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.

All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don’t even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost—and the ghost saw me.

Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won’t leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a “special home” for troubled teens. Yet the home isn’t what it seems. Don’t tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It’s up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House . . . before its skeletons come back to haunt me.

Read more: s.e. and abby Chat About Books: The Summoning


As always, these jobs are not endorsed by us in any way, and we cannot answer any questions about them.


Accessibility Program Manager Please Endorse the AODA Alliance’s Brief to Elections Ontario on Proposed Polling Station and Returning Office Site Accessibility Standard (Ontario)

18-Month Temporary Assignment/Secondment

The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Chief Electoral Office Division, is seeking an energetic and motivated individual to provide specialized program management and consulting expertise in the management, coordination and delivery of accessibility programs/initiatives for Elections Ontario.

By 13 September, 2010.    Uncategorized   

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