, 18 tweets, 10 min read Read on Twitter
I need someone with time & skills to do a detailed discourse analysis of the responses to @SelmaBlair’s #OscarAwards look on social media. It for now here’s my quick morning take, a thread particularly for nondisabled folks.
Among my #DisabilityRights, #disabilityjustice & #disabilitystudies comrades, there’s excitement about the power of representation. Blair’s look, like hashtags #DisabledAndCute & #DisabledPeopleAreHot, demonstrate disabled bodyminds & accoutrements like canes can be attractive
However, some of the general comments on images & stories of Blair, while seemingly “positive,” are DEEPLY #ableist in that they rely on notions of bravery, pity, overcoming & shock at the attractiveness of a disabled bodyminds. Let’s break down the problems with each response.
Bravery: Discourses of bravery & courage assume disabled bodyminds are inherently harder/worse rather than positioning ableist society as a major source of difficulty. We can acknowledge difficulties people face, but shouldn’t assume everything disabled ppl do takes bravery.
Pity: I saw lots of emojis & statements about crying. Perhaps some were happy tears, but we’ve been taught to be emotional in response to disabled ppl. If you’re crying, consider why, is it based pity or surprise or joy & connection? What assumptions undergird emotions?
Overcoming/Fighter: Used in #inspirationporn & #supercrip narratives, discourses of overcoming overlook societal barriers & how racial, gender, sexuality & class privilege intersects w/ disability to make some disabled ppl more likely to be visible & successful than others.
For instance, an analysis of Blair would need to consider how gender, class, celebrity, size, & disability all play a part in receptions of her & her access to such a platform.
I have an article to help folks analyze supercrip narratives on my website & another under review on how to analyze inspiration porn from an intersectional perspective.

Surprise at attractiveness: I don’t have a good example for this, but when scrolling I felt, at times, that folks’ surprise expressed in emojis or exclaimation points were based in ableist assumptions about the unattractiveness of disabled people.
If you fall in the “surprised disabled ppl can be attractive” camp I recommend scrolling through the #DisabledAndCute & #DisabledPeopleAreHot hashtags. Expose yourself to more disabled ppl, especially artists & activists.
My point in all this is that nondisabled people responding to Blair need to slow down & explore how we are responding to her & why. Are our powerful emotions based on ableist assumptions about the limits & unattractiveness of disabled people?
Who benefits from engagement with discourses of bravery, pity, & overcoming and who is harmed by these frameworks? I recommend following the lead of disabled folks & even Blair herself who has been public about life as a newly disabled woman on her IG.

In posts Blair acknowledges the struggles & the new joys of disabled life. She poses with her cane regularly. So while the Oscars may be her first public event appearance, she has been public for a few months as a disabled person online.
Let’s fight for more complicated, politicized, real stories of disabled ppl rather than singular, spectacular images that make nondisabled ppl feel good w/out having to think about ableism or accessibility.
Finally, to be clear, this is a critique of responses to Blair not Blair herself. I loved her outfit & look forward to what she will do next. She can’t control the ableist responses to her, but we can collectively challenge & change the discourses around disabled ppl in public.
Lots of typos per usual. Such is life. 🤷🏾‍♀️
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