Tag Archives: video

Wild Women With Disabilities Speak Out

The video is subtitled.


Title Image: Reflections from MIUSA’s WILD2010
Wild Women with Disabilities Speak Out
Global Fund for Women

Narrator: In August, I had the privilege of representing the Global Fund for Women at the Women’s Institute on Leadership and Development, or WILD, a three-week program hosted by Mobility International USA. Women disability rights activists came from 34 countries to a serene natural setting in Eugene, Oregon. They came to share with each other their wisdom and strategies for how to win recognition, inclusion and rights for the disability community. During the final week, WILD alumni and representatives from international organisations particpated by networking, mentoring, and discussing gender, disability and development.

From these incredible women, I learned how it feels to be excluded from the mainstream women’s movement in India, how it feesl to be marginalized in a male-led disability rights movement in Botswana, and the importance of bringing women with different disabilities together for a stronger and more unified voice in every country.

I was so proud that the Global Fund for Women had provided seed grants to many of these grassroots leaders who had experienced other funders telling them “We don’t do disability.” I was overjoyed to be able to say “Yes, we recognize the importance of investing in women with disabilities.”

Some of our grantees shared with me what receiving a Global Fund Grant meant to them.

Jasmina: I’m Jasmina Risteska from Macedonia, and I’m working for an organisation, Mobility Challenge. Our focus is women with disabilites and their inclusion in every aspect of social life. The great work the Global Fund for women is doing is that they support us in the most difficult moment for us, that is, our beginning, and thank you very much Global Fund for your support.
[La, la, la, la, la]

Ekaete: Hi, my name is Ekaete Umoh. I’m the Executive Director of Family-Centered Initiatives for Challenged Persons, an NGO working with women and girls with disabilities based in Nigera and a Grantee of Global Fund for Women. I really want to thank Global Fund for Women for giving us the foundation which we are standing on today. In 2004 we got about $6,000 from Global Fund for Women to support our organisation and since then things have really changed. The money came when we needed it the most and it was so strengthening, it gave us the energy to move on. With that money we’ve been able to do a lot for our organisation, and the issues of women with disabilities in Nigeria has been brought to the front burner.

[La, la, la, la, la]

Karine: I am Karine from Armenia. I am the President of Agate Center for Women with Special Needs NGO. Our NGO was founded thanks to the grant provided by Global Fund for Women in 2007. I want to thank them for their support and trust. They were the first who trusted us.

[La, la, la, la, la]

Alicia: My name is Alicia Contreras and I am disability activist. Thanks to the Global Fund I got a grant and I started a women’s program in Mexico. I started the first independent living center for women with disabilities, and without the Global Fund I would not be able to do it. My advice for those who think you can’t do it, do it, try it, start it.

Narrator: After the program, women returned home energized to overcome challenges and raise the visibility of women with disabilities in their communities. I, too, left eager to be a stronger ally to the global women’s disability rights movement. These loud, proud and passionate women have deeply inspired me and I will hold their vision, songs, and laughter with me forever.

We want to be a part of your community.

Disability Representation in Music (Video), You’re Doing It Right: Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope”

This recent music video from singer-songwriter Janelle Monae is a great example of how not to completely screw up representation(s) of disability. Lyrics are located here.

And a description, courtesy of FWD’s own S.E.:

A black title card reads: ‘The Palace of the Dogs Asylum: Dancing has long been forbidden for its subversive effects on the residents and its tendency to lead to illegal magical practices.’

Two people in tuxedos are seen sitting against a white tiled wall. One is reading a book and the other is playing with a small ball, which eventually drifts up and floats in the air. The reader turns to see it and looks surprised.

Cut to an ominous-looking institution with a sign in front reading: ‘The Palace of the Dogs.’ Bright yellow text reading: ‘Monae and Left Foot: Tight Rope’ overlays the image as bouncy music plays.

Cut to a scene of a nurse pushing a cart full of medications. The scene starts with her feet, in sensible white shoes, and slowly pans up. She is moving down a hallway. As she proceeds, a woman (Janelle Monae) in a tuxedo without a jacket, with her hair in an elaborate sculpted pompadour, peers out the door of her room and then ducks back in. As she closes the door, we cut to her in her room, leaning against the door, and she starts singing.

The video cuts back and forth between the nurse moving down the hall, Monae singing and dancing in front of a mirror, and two ominous figures with mirrors for faces draped in black cloaks, seen from a distance. She eventually puts her jacket on and moves out of her room, softshoeing down the hallway, and other people, also in tuxedos, join
her. They storm into a cafeteria, where a band is playing, led by Big Boi, wearing a peacoat, a scarf, and a snappy hat. Monae jumps up onto a table and starts dancing, while people dance all around her.

As everyone dances, the nurse is seen peering around the corner with an angry expression. The scene cuts to the nurse gesticulating at the black-robed figures, who start to glide down the hallways and into the cafeteria. Monae dances right out of the wall, leaving an imprint of her clothes against the bricks, and ends up in a misty forest in what appears to be afternoon light, where she is pursued by the gliding black figures. Leaves cling to their cloaks. Evading them, she walks through a concrete wall, leaving another impression of her clothes behind, and she winds up in the hall again, where she is escorted by the robed figures. The video cuts back and forth between scenes of her
walking down the hall and the scene in the cafeteria, where music still plays and people still dance.

As she walks, a man in an impeccable suit and top hat walks by and tips his hat to her. She goes back into her room while people dance in the hall. The camera closes in on a table covered in papers and a piece of equipment which looks like a typewriter. She types a few keys, and then touches the papers, which turn out to be blueprints marked with ‘The Palace of the Dogs.’ She sits down on her bed,  rests her chin on her hand, and looks into the camera. The music fades and the scene cuts to black.

I really like what Cripchick has to say about this video: “i love the way that this video A.) critiques psychiatric institutions and B.) shows the ways that institutions/society/ableism polices our whole beautiful creative selves because if unleashed, we are powerful/uncontrollable.”

Additionally, I thought the cloaked figures were an interesting representation of the concept of the looking-glass self; another interpretation might be that they represent Bentham’s panopticon, or the sort of menacing, omipresent societal structure in which we must police ourselves constantly in order to be considered “normal.” Those are just two ways of looking at one aspect of this video, however.

What do you all think?

Disability History Education Video

I wanted to share this Disability History Education video by the Disabled Young People’s Collective. The DYP is based in North Carolina, USA, and is made up of people between the ages of fifteen and twenty-eight. See the DYP website for more.

The video is mostly captioned, but the captions can be a bit difficult to read at times, so here’s a video description.

[A group of people sitting on stairs call out, one at a time.] The following are stereotypes of people with disabilities: special, begger, psychotic, crazy, mongoloid, lazy, needy, handicap, disgusting, retard, insane, incapable, slow, helpless.
[Written out on the screen] The following are shocking facts from disability history.
[Individuals say the following]
[On an exercise machine, a person says] Did you know that 70% of people that are blind or visually impaired are unemployed?
[A person walks up stairs then pauses to speak] Did you know that disabled people were sterilized during the eugenics movement?
[A person is watching TV and says] Did you know that disabled people were killed in the Holocaust?
[A person walks closer to the camera to say] Did you know that disabled people were required to stay inside because they were considered ugly?
[A group is sitting in a parking lot, blocking a car, which honks at them. One of them says] Did you know that Section 504 was the longest sit-in ever in a federal building?
[Standing in a doorway, a person says] Did you know that disabled people had their teeth removed, because institutions didn’t want to pay for their dental costs?
[A person using a motorised wheelchair is in a parking lot with ‘another inaccessible sidewalk’ and so moves along beside the sidewalk, saying] Did you know that 92% of parents abort children who have the possibility of having Down Syndrome?
[A person signs with speech voiceover] Did you know that students at Galludet University staged a protest by hotwiring buses to block campus gates in order to get the first Deaf President there?

You can find the words to the Self-Advocacy Rap, which is at the end of the video, in the sidebar of the YouTube page.

Thank you to @cripchick for tweeting about this video.

A bit of disability humour to brighten your day

When you hear ‘disability’ and ‘joke’ in the same sentence, it’s usually not a good sign. But that’s not always the case.

I thought we could all do with a bit of a laugh and that some of you might enjoy this video. It’s a routine from the very popular Australian comedian and television presenter Adam Hills, who has an artificial leg. Hills doesn’t refer to himself as disabled, but he’s known for talking about disability issues and often having a sign language interpreter at his shows.

I went out with this girl once, we’d been together for a little while, and we got back to her place for the first ever time, and it was that moment of kind of sitting, you know, on the edge of a bed, and she went, ‘ooh, do you want to stay the night,’ and I went, ‘oh, yeah all right.’ She went, ‘Oh, okay, I’ll be back in a second.’ And she walked out of the room. And I sat there going, ‘awww – oh, shit. I haven’t told her. Well now what do I do?’ You know what I mean? Well I can’t wait for her to walk back in and just go, ‘look! [pretending to hold up his prosthetic] It fell off.’ I considered doing a magic trick with a blanket [pretending to flourish a blanket and reveal not having a second leg]. I sat there for ten minutes thinking a) where has she gone for ten minutes? And b) How am I gonna bring this up in conversation? What can she say to which I could naturally respond, ‘really? Well I’ve got one leg!’ [gestures in that direction] I’m not making this up, she came back in the room and went, ‘I’m really sorry, I’ve only got one pillow.’ [pauses for laughter, then repeats gesture] Ta da! She went, ‘ah, that explains it!’ ‘It explains what?’ She said, ‘I spent half an hour at dinner rubbing your foot under the table and you didn’t notice.’

[Cross-posted at Zero at the Bone.]