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).
I first heard Riva Lehrer's name when I spoke with Ann Fox and Jessica Cooley about curating shows dealing with art and disability. Actually seeing her work though, was inspiring. A Chicago-based painter whose work speaks to identity and disability through her beautifully rendered portraits, and I don't think I can put it better than Art Critical does when they describe her style as "crisply observed realism mixed with fantastically contrived settings."
Professor Ann M. Fox and Jessica Cooley have now curated two art shows addressing disability. The first, Re/Formations featured five women artists exploring the intersections of female identity and disability through sculpture. More recently, they wrapped up STARING, which was based off of the book Staring: How We Look by Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, one of the leading scholars in disability studies. The works in STARING address issues of representation, visibility, and empowerment....not unlike feminism. It featured artwork from Doug Auld and Chris Rush, among others.
Transcript available for download
I was one of those major theater nerds in high school; my nerd-dom, however, did not usually translate to reading many well-regarded Classics of Theater. I did not read Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie until college, and, looking back, I would have read it much earlier, had such a thing been possible. The Glass Menagerie, written in the early 1940s, is one of Williams' works that continues to get quite a bit of mileage out of the "faded Southern belle" archetype (if I may quote The Simpsons). It is notable also because of its depiction of disability in the character of young Laura Wingfield—who has a limp due to an adolescent bout of pleurisy. Though Laura, as a character, is problematic in some aspects, she is still worth a look because she does not totally conform to many dominant cultural narratives of disability.