The much anticipated Very Special Disability Episode of Glee, "Wheels" aired last night. And already the rave reviews are flooding in. It's "edgy," it's "a game changer," it's "controversial," it's "moving," it's "thought provoking." Twitter is aflutter with praise.
Did everyone else watch the same episode I watched?
In just six days 26-year-old Era Al-Sufri, a Diplomatic Officer at Brunei's Ministry of Foreign Affairs who loves math and is passionate about the environment, will embark on a dream vacation... of sorts. One of eight women from eight countries picked to participate in the Kaspersky Lab Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition, Era (aka Polar Girl) and her cohorts underwent an intensive training in order to complete a 40-day, 900km ski through blizzards and subzero temperatures (up to -40 degrees) with the goal of arriving at the South Pole on January 1, 2010.
This Monday's episode of Gossip Girl stirred up controversy when a menage-a-trois was featured--the act was last on a list of fifteen things to do before you graduate from college. Teasers for the episode had the Parent Television Council ("Because Our Children Are Watching") up in arms, calling airing the subject matter "reckless and irresponsible." The scene ended up being pretty tame, but is still making OMFG waves where parents are concerned. But is there a right way to watch it?
Miranda July starts her recent Vice photo spread with the following note:
Do you ever feel like an extra in your own life? It seems like I'm
forever stuck in the background, watching other people say and do all
the things I feel inside. One day I'm gonna surprise everyone with my
talents. They will be laughing and crying and texting me so often that
I will be annoyed.
Ableism is a central concept in disability rights. The term was originally popularized by Thomas Hehir, a special education scholar who defined it as "'the devaluation of disability' that 'results in societal attitudes that uncritically assert that it is better for a child to walk than roll, speak than sign, read print than read Braille, spell independently than use a spell-check, and hang out with nondisabled kids as opposed to other disabled kids.'" There are many varied manifestations of ingrained ableism in contemporary society and pop culture, but I see it most often in uncritical use of language based on ableist assumptions - even by speakers or authors who are progressive and who are against ableism as a concept.
Glee, the show we either love or love to hate, depending on who you ask, is back tonight after a several-week hiatus. Are you going to tune in for the diverse cast and catchy dance numbers? Or has the misogyny and stereotyping of Glee danced its way out of your heart?
If you tuned into Dancing With The Stars last night, you got a real (feminist?) treat – and I'm not talking about Donny Osmond's Viennese Waltz. I'm talking about the cheesy cover of "Standing in the Way of Control" by feminist fave The Gossip!