On the paralympics and inspiration porn

A month or so a go, I noticed that Sainsbury’s was stocking mini eggs again. ‘Oh good,’ I thought (even though I bloody love a mini egg), ‘We’ve finally lost it completely. Easter now starts in July.’

It doesn’t. Instead, Cadbury have launched the dubiously named Wini eggs in honour of the Paralympic Games, which, if it wasn’t for chocolate, might pretty much have passed me by.

Except they wouldn’t, obviously, because even though I have no interest in sport, I fully expect that in September, bullshit like this:

and this:

will be replaced by bullshit like this (also, why is the ‘F’ in ‘firmly’ and ‘B’ in ‘believe’ capitalised? You can’t emphasise something just by capitalising the first letter of random words!):

disability

Being part of a body- and sex-positive community is great. It means that most of the stuff above gets called out, retweeted, mocked, and generally shown to be not okay. I can’t help but feel that the same is not true when it comes ableism, which, believe me, you will see in spades once the paralympics start.

In May, after Eroticon, I promised that I would put my slides up here if people wanted to see them. Several people said they did, but I completely forgot, and so now I want to do a deal. I will put the slides up here, along with a brief summary of what I said, a video everybody should watch and a couple of great posts written by people who came to my session. In return, whether you’re able-bodied or not, please don’t mindlessly retweet inspiration porn during the games. It is perfectly okay to be inspired by disabled athletes, and it would be perfectly fine to tweet something like the below about an athlete whether they were disabled or not.

What’s not okay is the following:

a) Isn’t that person amazing for someone with a disability? (No, they’re amazing full stop)

b) Wow, if that person can do that even though they have a disability, I can definitely make a sandwich/go to the gym/ask that guy out/do couch to 5k (No, this is not about you and your life, it’s about them and their achievements)

In fact, go one better than not retweeting it. Flag it up. Make it known it’s ableist as fuck. The disabled community does this all the time. It’s exhausting and emotionally draining, and it takes a lot out of people. Like it or not, the able-bodied community is bigger and better able to make itself heard. So support us, and respond to this just as you would homophobia or sexism.

Please.

I’ll put the Eroticon stuff here.

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4 thoughts on “On the paralympics and inspiration porn

  1. Pingback: Sex and disability – Eroticon 2016 | Sex blog (of sorts)

  2. I know that in the past I’ve been guilty of your a) and b), but not since I’ve been with my husband (now almost 15 years). I will support you.

    What I don’t understand though, but this might be me is the relation between the Paralympics and the chocolate eggs. But this might just be me…

    Rebel xox

  3. I’ve just written a post on this, albeit spectacularly failing to make the point I intended. I really need your way with words *sigh.

    I agree whole heartedly, people with disabilities can inspire people because of who they are as a person. The way the media portray Paralympic athletes as super humans leaves me feeling awkward. They are athletes just the same way Olympic athletes are.

    Thank you for writing this and sorry I didn’t see it at the time or at the very least before the games finished!

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