Hello, everyone! I am Annaham of HamBlog, and since I’ve written a Disability 101 series of posts, I thought it would be a good idea to cross-post some of the series here. My inspiration was piqued by the Finally Feminism 101 blog, which is brilliantly maintained by tigtog of Hoyden About Town. I hope that this series will answer some 101-ish questions about disability. My hope is that this will serve as a starting point for people (of all abilities) who wish to learn more about disability, chronic illnesses and health conditions, and the issues surrounding disability/CI/CHC terms, etiquette, and frequently-asked (and pontificated-upon) questions. (In case you’re wondering who the hell I am and/or why I am taking on this project, my bio is located here.)
If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments field. Please be respectful and on-topic when commenting.
Also, please keep in mind that I do not speak for *all* PWDs and folks with chronic illnesses or health conditions in this series. It is not intended as “the” guide to 101 questions on disability; my intent is to offer (pretty subjective) answers to common questions on disability, and of course, there will be folks who disagree.
Thanks, and enjoy!
What is “disability?”
The World Health Organization defines “disability” in the following way: “Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations.”
Additionally: “[D]isability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives.” [ Source]
But aren’t we all disabled in some way?
No. This sort of “folk wisdom” implies, directly or indirectly, that mundane things—things that may be minor inconveniences (at least for some able-bodied people–those with whom this bit of “wisdom” seems to be most popular), but that are not fundamentally impairing or restrictive to one’s quality of life or participation in civic and/or private life—are disabling, when they are, in fact, not. Disability, additionally, is a term that refers to a long-term or lifelong condition.
What is “ableism?”
Ableism refers to discrimination, devaluation, misconceptions, stereotypes, and prejudice—conscious or unconscious—of and against people with disabilities, the chronically ill, and people with chronic health conditions. As a culturally-based structure that often intersects with other oppressive “isms,” systems of privilege, and “-phobias” (such as racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, white privilege, cisgendered privilege, class/economic privilege, and transphobia) ableism assumes that able-bodied people are the “norm” in society, and as a result, culture, various institutions, attitudes and social mores are formed in accordance with the needs of able-bodied people.
What is meant by the terms AB and TAB?
“AB” is an abbreviation for able-bodied; “TAB” is a slightly more to-the-point abbreviation meaning “Temporarily Able-Bodied.” TAB refers to the inevitable—namely, that most of us will face disability at some point in our lives; whether it comes sooner or later varies depending upon one’s circumstances.
Originally posted at Faces of Fibro.
We’re still new, but it’s time to take us out of the box.
FWD/Forward is a group blog written by a crew of feminists with disabilities who are interested in exploring the intersection between feminism and disability rights activism. It’s going to include cross-posted content from many of our websites, as well as original content written specifically for this site by the contributors. Cross-posted and original content from guest posters will be featured as well.
We are not now and know we never can be representative of all feminists with disabilities. However, over time, we hope to expand the crew of contributors to incorporate as many perspectives as possible, which means that we want to hear from you if you are interested in joining us in any role, whether as a guest blogger or contributor, suggesting post topics, or anything else. We’re looking forward to being a part of the conversation already going on all over the Internet about feminism and disability, and we’re excited about the opportunity to interact with people who are working to change the way in which we think about disability rights activism and feminism.
We’re still nailing down the specifics and working out the fine details of things like our comments policy, but in the coming months, you can look forward to:
- A disability kindy (pre-101) series for people who are new to disability rights activism
- Disability 101 for kindy graduates
- A series of basic intersectionality posts specifically for feminists who are new to disability issues
- Consciousness-raising posts about identifying as a person with disabilities
- Discussions about how people without disabilities and feminists without disabilities in particular interact with people with disabilities
- Disability news quick-hits on ongoing disability issues in the news
- Link roundups featuring disability news and writing on disability issues from around the Internet
- Discussions about the language of disability rights activism, from differing terminology used internationally to the specific language used by individual groups which advocate for disability rights
- Posts about the disproportionate amount of sexual, physical, and social abuse targeted at women with disabilities
- Posts about people with invisible disabilities and mental illnesses and challenges unique to those groups
- Posts about the relationship between disability rights activism, social policy, and the law
- Discussions of how to be an ally to feminists with disabilities
- AND MORE!
-The FWD/Forward Crew