What Do You Think

Stella Young on Not Being an Inspiration

What do you think?

I can see where she is coming from, but I tend to disagree regarding her thesis as a whole.

Here are the comments I made to the video when I viewed it:

While I agree with her that there are some residual consequences of "inspirational' images that objectify disabled people in the eyes of non-disabled people, these same images also help those who become disabled through some sort of trauma later in life.  I suffered an injury at the T-4 level in 2012.   Fortunately, I recovered - not fully, but to a point that strangers would not know (unless they observed me really closely) I suffered damage to my spinal cord.

Many people who suffer a spinal cord injury, be it via illness or physical trauma, find themselves a life turned upside down, and give up.  They don't adapt, they don't make adjustments, and some who may have the capability of regaining some functions, such as walking, don't because they won't try.  Throughout my entire recovery, which continues, I try and find motivation from all possible sources.  Stories of people who have overcome greater obstacles that I faced with my spinal cord issues, whether the obstacle was physical, mental, or environmental inspire, motivate me to try and overcome my personal obstacles.   And images similar to the ones she used helped me tremendously  in my own recovery.

If I can inspire and motivate others with my story, I am happy.  If I motivate a person who recently suffered spinal cord injury, or if I motivate a non-disabled person who sees that another person faced bigger obstacles, and overcame them, I am happy.  Truthfully, I'm not being inspirational for the sake of being inspirational to others - I am just trying to make my own life easier.  But, if the price to pay for being "unintentionally" motivational is being objectified by non-disabled people, it is a price I gladly pay.

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