Category Archives: recommended reading

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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   

Recommended Reading for 24 December, 2010

Gentle reader, be cautioned: comments sections on mainstream media sites tend to not be safe and we here at FWD/Forward don’t necessarily endorse all the opinions in these pieces. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

The Broken of Britain: The GP’s Story by Dr Jest

So there you have it. Neither Pete nor Dud would have chosen to be where they are now, and neither has asked not to work when they were capable. Indeed both have rather struggled on when reason would have suggested they ought not. And I could name you a dozen others in a similar position. All present talk of making it more profitable to work than rely on benefit may sound very noble and high minded in the marbled halls of power, where hard graft means having a lot to read and a few late meetings to go to. It completely misses the enormous efforts made by the likes of Pete and Dud to keep going against the odds, and any move to impoverish them is little short of scandalous and should be relentlessly pointed out for the evil narrow minded bigotry it is.

Sarah at Cat in a Dog’s World: PWD and TSA

From information I’d heard from TSA administrators, I thought that the body scanners would reducethe need for physical pat-downs. Little did I know that TSA would use the new technology as an excuse to conduct more invasive pat-downs! It is obscene, especially when one considers that many people with disabilities don’t have any “choice” at all. If someone is unable to stand independently for ten seconds with their arms up, or if one wears any number of medical devices or prostheses…there is no “choice.” (And no, for many people, “don’t fly” is not a realistic choice.) There is, additionally, reason for concern about the radiation from the body scanners, particularly for cancer survivors and people who have a genetic predisposition to cancer. It is now pretty clear that body scanners, far from being a panacea, are making things worse. And people with disabilities are being affected disproportionately.

At Spilt Milk: Thanks for your help, doctor.

Make no mistake: I know that this only happened to me because I am fat. If I were a thin person and I walked through his door with the symptoms I described, he would have been forced to dig deeper. To ask me more questions, to hopefully come up with a wider range of options. Maybe run more tests.

United States: Megan Cottrell at ChicagoNow: Got a disability? You’ll see the difference in your paycheck

A lot of people might assume that if you have a disability, you might not make as much money as someone without a disability. But how much less? How hard is it for people with disabilities in Illinois to get by compared to their neighbors?

India: An unnamed special correspondent at The Hindu: Social barriers keep the disabled away from workforce:

Persons with disabilities are the last identity group to enter the workforce, not because their disability comes in the way of their functioning, but because of social and practical barriers that prevent them from joining work, a study on the ‘Employment Rights of Disabled Women in India’ carried out by the Society for Disability and Rehabilitation of the National Commission for Women (NCW) has said.

Guillermo Contreras at State sued over care for disabled Texans

The federal lawsuit, filed Monday in San Antonio, alleges the state isn’t providing some mentally and physically disabled Texans the opportunity to move into community-based settings, which advocates say are less restrictive and more rehabilitative than nursing homes.

Lastly, here’s a transcript of a story on Australia’s 7.30 Report program called Setting Sail:

Known as the ‘Everest of sailing’ the Sydney to Hobart race challenges the most seasoned of yachtsmen on what can be a treacherous ocean voyage.

Most of the focus is on the big maxi-yachts competing for line honours. But a unique crew of blind and deaf sailors is also commanding attention.

The charity organisation, Sailors With Disabilities, has been gifted a half-million dollar fast yacht, making them eligible for the first time in the prestigious Rolex Cup.

Send your links to recreading[@]disabledfeminists[.]com. Let us know if/how you want to be credited. And have yourself a fabulous weekend.

Recommended Reading for Thursday

Exciting Laptop update: I dropped it off at the repair place today. I will likely not get it back till after the holiday. Picture my face of woe. Woe. Lucky I can at least borrow Don’s laptop to check email and play Farmville. Right now I’m at my library, which closes at the horribly-early hour of 6 p.m. (Usually it closes at midnight.)

Yay! The newest Disability Blog Carnival is up at Rolling Around in my Head:Long Nights: Disability Blog Carnival!

We’ve all had long dark nights. We’ve all learned, to greater and lesser degrees how to survive them. This Disability Blog Carnival comes on the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. One can forget that in another part of the world, it is the day with most light. There is always balance. The submissions to the Carnival speak of strategies rather than solutions, realizations rather than remedies. I think that’s what makes them so compelling. I wrote my post the other day and realized how deep and how difficult it was to write about darkness. I applaud all who submitted and thank them for the many times I was moved, to tears, to thought and, perhaps even, to action.

The next Disability Blog Carnival will be hosted by Butterfly Dreams

he theme I have chosen is LET YOUR FREAK FLAG FLY, taken from the title of a song in one of the Shrek movies, and one of my favorite songs of all time. Write about a time when you openly and proudly identified as a person with a disabilty, or, if you’re a non-disabled ally, write about a time when you were proud to stand by us. Or….you could make it into a musing on the word “freak” itself, and related words. Do they help us? Hurt us? Is it wrong to call ourselves freaks, spazzes, and gimps? Or is it empowering? Or……something else!! I’m flexible – as long as you can justify it fitting the theme, I’m good.

Noelle Cigarroa Bell at Deaf Echo: Why I Almost Didn’t Sign The Dailykos Petition

I was reluctant to sign the Dailykos petition in support of Netflix and asking the FCC to reign in Comcast’s abuse of corporate power. Why was I reluctant to do so? Because of the history of Netflix’s hostile business practices towards the deaf community, in refusing to caption streaming videos. Dana Mulvany, a consumer advocate, explains the history between Netflix and the deaf community, which I am a part of:

Yet virtually all new DVDs and TV programs have captions or subtitles. Why hasn’t Netflix figured out how to repurpose the captions and subtitles from DVDs more quickly for online streaming? does this with a very short turn around period without even charging viewers. Netflix has dragged its feet about doing this even when it’s raking in millions of dollars from its subscribers. The problem seems to be one of attitude and will, not resources.

Pipe Cleaner Dreams: Slip Sliding Away

I need your help. This is the first year that we have had our wheelchair ramp and really needed to use it. It is Ronnie’s only access into the house.

Last week, we had our first snow. I was dreading it – not because I don’t like snow – I really love snow – but I knew that the ramp was going to be an issue. And sure enough, it was.

So here’s where I need the help. What do others of you that have ramps do when the ramps get snowy or icy?

Wheelchair Dancer: Check ME out!

Not in that way, peeps. Although if you absolutely must. Smile. This comes to me via a variety of folks, and I have enjoyed it so much that I thought I would add it to my blog. It’s a neat, neat idea: How To Borrow A Person From The Library, by Liz Colville at the Hairpin. The Toronto public library has this idea, taken from the library in Copenhagen — that people are just as cool as books and that you could just check out a person from the library.

Recommended Reading for Wednesday

Hi All! My laptop is broken, woe, and thus I am more scattered than even the last month might lead you to believe. (Repair will take a few days, I haven’t lost anything important, and it won’t even cost much to fix, so don’t fret!)

Hand to Mouth: Lilliput touchscreen monitor review: a pleasant surprise

So. A friend of mine did the gambling for me, and surprised me with a 7” Lilliput touchscreen USB monitor. I am typing on it with the stylus taped to my fingers, because otherwise I lose my grip after a while and the pinching motion hurts.

If you want to use this device on something other than your home computer, be aware that the monitor requires driver installations for the device and the touchscreen capability. The disk includes drivers for 2000 through 7, 32 bit. Installation is straightforward, as is the touch calibration – you hold the stylus on 4 points until it says OK. You can also choose 9 or 25 points from the calibration menu later on, and there is also a draw test to determine accuracy. You do need some degree of fine motor control.

Lisa J. Ellwood at UK Uncut: Guest post: Disabled Activists and the Anti-Cuts Movement

Recent media coverage has shone the spotlight on disabled people, and that spotlight has been less than favourable. We are castigated as ‘scroungers
and ‘fakers’ not only by journalists and their employers, but also neighbours, friends and even family. It would seem that the vast majority of the great British public knows several people who are as fit as a fiddle and audaciously raking money in hand-over-fist thanks to bogus benefits claims based on faked illnesses. There is an endless stream of rhetoric to be found when reading any newspaper, blog or listening to talk radio. Too often I find myself reading the latest venomous shots fired by the disgruntled and wonder if the face behind the pseudonym is a familiar one.

Musings of a Marfan Mom: Ellen’s Birth Story

My husband and I decided to have biological children in spite of my genetic risk. During one of my first ob-gyn visits with my first pregnancy in 1999, I brought up delivery options. My bone disorder is rare, and medical professionals who don’t quite understand it can be overly cautious. I knew from my research that women with my type of OI (the most mild type) who have not had pelvic fractures or pelvic deformities can deliver babies vaginally. I was also familiar with research indicating that c-sections are not necessarily safer for babies who have OI. But I was afraid my doctors would freak out about a fragile mom delivering a potentially fragile baby and insist on a c-section. I was relieved when the doctors said they were fine with my planning a vaginal birth. I settled into my pregnancy, took childbirth classes, and looked forward to seeing what my body could do.

Miss Invisible at Fucking Meds: Fun with benzos

Dear Ativan,

You were first prescribed to me on an as-needed basis for panic attacks, and you were so good to me. Other meds often do awful things to my system, but the worst you ever did was knock me out, which was nice when I was, y’know, too panicked for rest. So it made sense for the pdoc to put me on you when I needed a day-to-day med. Just a tiny bit, just a quarter of a .5 mg tablet. Barely a dose at all.

Astrid: Change in Autism Symptoms and Maladaptive Behavior after Exiting High School

I’m not quite in the mood for studying. However, I thought that, since I’ve been nominated for best autism spectrum blogger in the Mental Nurse TWIM blog awards, I’d better do an autism post for a change. This time, I’m going to review a study on a subject that is dear to my heart: the effects of exiting high school on autism symptomatology and maladaptive behaviors in adolescents and young adults with ASD.

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