After a fine introduction by the one and only Dr. Foss, with the addition of a quiz, the class opened up the discussion to three pieces of importance. The first piece discussed was Rosemarie Garland Thomson’s “Integrating Disability, Transforming Feminist Theory”, Snyder and Mitchell’s “Introduction: Cultural Locations of Disability”, and the discussion of Jillian Weise’s “Nondisabled Demands”. Due to the amount of pieces discussed in the class period many different points of the flawed system were brought up, however, the discussion of the link between feminine and disabled bodies was characteristic throughout the majority of the discussion. In addition, the discussion of locations that contain systemic ableism were also a part of the discussion as well as the inclusion of Weise’s piece to discuss the nondisabled minded negative cultural mindset about disabled bodies.
Rosemarie Garland Thomson’s “Integrating Disability, Transforming Feminist Theory” was the first piece of discussion as the class split into four groups to discuss and note down feelings of the four means of Feminist Disability Theory: Representation, Body, Identity, and Activism. The main consensus of this discussion as we transferred to a large group was the concept of women being intertwined with the disabled identity. As to have the benefits of a society one must be a white male whereas women and the disabled community were discriminated against. The concept of ugliness was brought up as this term causes women and disabled bodies to seek medical assistance with tools such as plastic surgery as they do not fit the agenda of systemic ableism and what looks “normal”. In addition, when these points were brought up in contemporary times, major corporations advocate for the promotion of these issues yet on the downside they profit off the issues anyways.
As the discussion moved away from Garland’s piece we then turned to a large group discussion of Snyder and Mitchell’s “Introduction: Cultural Locations of Disability”. Foss opens up the discussion with the intersectionality and layering of postcolonial theory. Then we can see the ways in which we can analyze this theory to provide sites of resistance for disabled bodies. Afterwards we discuss the issue of the emphasis of modernisms in the late 19th and 20th centuries like perfection or how to be like an abled body and how dangerous this is for disabled bodies. Whilst discussing these locations (places such as asylums) the class found in the text that the cultural model is the best model for group identity as we take disabled bodies case by case recognizing each body’s identity as its own. “The formulation of the cultural model allows us to theorize a political act of renaming that designates disability as a site of resistance”(10).
Following the discussion of Snyder and Mitchell’s piece the class ended on the note of Jillian Weise’s poem “Nondisabled Demands”. The poem begins with the critiquing of disabled demands by a nondisabled speaker. The class begins to recognize the repetition of the word “take” in the poem to show how nondisabled individuals demand disabled bodies to take their help or their assistance. In addition, the discussion of inspiration porn comes up in the class as in the poem states, “If you refuse to answer then we call your doctor. Then we get to say you’re an inspiration”. This poem shows how ableism uses the disabled community for profit and even brainwash them to succumb to the able bodied mindset.
“I Pledge” – Mason Godek