Defying nondisabled persons outdated notions of what disability is like is difficult enough; making people laugh while doing so is a feat of its own.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.
Now that I have showered some well-deserved praise on BioWare for Dragon Age II, and also engaged in the almost 60 hours that it took me to get to the bitter and mind-wrenchingly disturbing end, I have a few thoughts. For all of my waxing poetic about how fabulously progressive BioWare has been with their slick political messages and wiggling new ideas into the way we consume and play video games, there was this thing tugging at me as I took my Hawke faffing about Kirkwall.
Please take note Gentle Readers: This post contains some fairly significant end-game plot spoilers for Dragon Age II. If you do not want to have this roller coaster ride ruined for you, please consider moving on. You have been warned.