Welcome to the latest installment of Ms. Opinionated, in which readers have questions about the pesky day-to-day choices we all face, and I give advice about how to make ones that (hopefully) best reflect our shared commitment to feminist values—as well as advice on what to do when they don't.
Dear Ms. Opinionated,
Some time ago (within the last year), when one of my dear friends registered a social media account under a handle that involved an ableist slur ("t*rd" to be more specific), I felt uncomfortable but didn't bring it up. What I didn't realize was that this is a handle she's taking on as she pursues a career in the gaming industry, and since then she's registered a few internet accounts under this name (some promotional social media accounts and a blog, as well as accounts on websites relevant to her industry).
Defying nondisabled persons outdated notions of what disability is like is difficult enough; making people laugh while doing so is a feat of its own. Thankfully, there are some badasses taking that immense challenge head on and succeeding.
Ahem. I mean "Hello, distinguished readers of the Bitch community. Pleased to make your acquaintance. How do you do?" My name is Caitlin and this is my new blogging series, "Tales From The Crip." I hope you enjoy it and that we can be friends. Or at the very least, be frenemies who engage in some stimulating conversations.
This blog series is rapidly closing in on its second week and I have only just gotten started. I have a lot in mind to cover—autistic gender and sexuality in parents' guides, autism and sex ed, the pathologization of gender non-normative behavior—and I have barely scratched the surface of portrayals of autists in film, television, and news media. As I did with my previous post on Erasure and Asexuality, however, I want to take a moment to step back and pause before charging on ahead.
If you read popular anti-street harassment blogs and media coverage of the topic, a pattern of perpetrator name-calling rapidly emerges, and some of the most prevalent terms you'll hear to describe the guys who "holla" at women and girls in public spaces are "pervert," "asshole," and "creep." I've always felt uneasy at this type of dehumanizing, knee-jerk response, and at this defining stage of street harassment, it would be wise to interrogate its purpose and meaning in shaping a new narrative regarding violence against women.
You know the fury that comes over you when you're affected by other people's prejudice? The coldness, shock, or devastation when they put you or your loved ones down over race, sexual orientation, age, gender, size, class or ability? Maybe you felt it when your folks wouldn't let you bring your partner to a family celebration, when a white woman crashed your MLK event to announce that she deals with racism too, or when a classmate blocked your path to stare at your walking aid. Despite what a lot of defensive apologists might try to tell you, these incidents do matter: They're called microaggressions.
Read more about this amazing website after the jump!
One trait I see portrayed frequently but not often discussed is mental illness and how it is used as a mechanism to propagate or explain away the actions of characters. Often, I see mental illness used as a tool to demonstrate just how terrible a character's actions are when their actions could be held up to scrutiny on their own. The use of mental illness as an agent of character development is an old trope that has been used time and again, often marring really great games. Outside of social justice circles, though, I don't see a lot of pushback against these depictions.