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Haddayr Copley-Woods [userpic]

GRRRRRRRRRR

August 4th, 2011 (09:52 am)

As a crippled bicyclist, I was of course interested to read this story naomikritzer sent me, and I agree with her. WTF is up with these ridiculous rules?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/nyregion/cyclists-embrace-a-handless-cuban-who-wants-to-race.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

I found this entire article enraging. First, the condescending reference to his "surprising self-confidence." Why should it be surprising that he is self-confident? He is a world class cyclist. Second, everyone rallying around him to . . . change him. Subject him to painful surgeries that interrupt his training and will never quite work, anyway. And the fucking paralympics making it impossible for him to adapt his bicycle in the way that is most comfortable for him. Them, of all organizations. HE has to "adapt" by learning how to ride with cumbersome prosthetics that put him in an odd, unfamiliar position and that add weight and confusion? He has already adapted. He has adapted really, really well. Why does he have to use all this shit he doesn't need? This is REALLY better than just changing the angle of his handlebars?

This is where the medical model of disability really hurts people. This frantic need to fix fix fix fix instead of accept and support. I know many folks with missing limbs on my boards who don't get why all of their doctors are constantly demanding that they use prosthetics when they feel fine just the way they are.

What if all of that money and attention had been used to lobby the paralympics to change that utterly illogical, ridiculous, and disablist rule instead?

Comments

Posted by: Mary Dell (marydell)
Posted at: August 4th, 2011 04:17 pm (UTC)

Oh man, that sucks.

Charlie's prostheticist wanted him to wear his prosthetic arm for the entire day. At 10 months old, the entire day. Because "it's important to develop a wearing pattern." I agreed with that part; his wearing pattern was 3 hours a day, to help him develop his spine and shoulders evenly.
Now that he's a toddler his wearing pattern is NEVER, because it gets in his way when he's trying to do stuff, and if he falls down when he's wearing it, it hurts him. And he doesn't like it. There is only one person in our house who knows what it's like to have half an arm, and I don't care if he's only 3, he gets to fucking decide. We'll keep offering him the opportunity to work with a prosthetic as he gets older and wants to do stuff where a spare hand might be useful, but for now? Meh.

I hate that people can't give a grown man the choice to do something WELL with the body he has, instead of doing it suckily with a modified body. FUuuuuu.

Rargh. Sorry for the rant. Here, have two pictures of artist Alison Lapper and her son:


[Visual description: Alison Lapper, who has no arms and truncated legs, leans over her infant son and kisses his cheek.]

[Visual description: Alison Lapper sits smiling with her young son, also smiling, on her lap.]

She says when he was a baby she would lift him by picking up his clothes with her teeth. :) A giant statue of her pregnant & nude was on display in Trafalgar square for 2 years as part of the Fourth Plinth program.

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: August 4th, 2011 05:28 pm (UTC)

Oh, please do not apologize for that beautiful rant. This article and this man's situation enraged me. I see no other response other than ranting.

(Also, thanks for the great photos of Alison Lapper! Now I know who they were talking about on BBC's Ouch! podcast.)

Posted by: Mary Dell (marydell)
Posted at: August 4th, 2011 09:24 pm (UTC)

Here's an article about the sculpture series Alison Lapper Pregnant was part of.

http://disabilityaesthetics.blogspot.com/2009/02/complete-marbles-by-mark-quinn.html

And here's an article with the sculptor talking about the placement of the statue in Trafalgar square, and pointing out that Nelson is one of the few disabled people to have a public statue:

http://www.london.gov.uk/fourthplinth/content/marc-quinn

(Charlie's middle name, not incidentally, is Nelson :)

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: August 4th, 2011 11:40 pm (UTC)

The Ouch Podcast folks were laughing about it; one of them went to Trafalgar Square with a bullhorn and shouted at the statue about how inspirational it was to all disabled people everywhere. It was funny, I will admit, but I sure do like those statues.

Posted by: Mary Dell (marydell)
Posted at: August 5th, 2011 01:48 am (UTC)

Yeah, I can see disliking the didacticism and other implied things, but it's hella cool to see different bodies represented in classical-style marble. Additionally, having a giant naked pregnant woman on a big plinth in a square full of military dude statues is pretty great, different body or no.

[edit: using "different" here to mean both "of difference" and also just "a variety" - seeing a statue of a woman with flattish breasts is unusual all on its own]

Edited at 2011-08-05 01:49 am (UTC)

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: August 5th, 2011 04:40 am (UTC)

Totally agree with you; I think it's powerful, and they were just trying to be funny and snide (which was awesome in its own way and doesn't take away from the terrific of the actual images at all.)

Posted by: Mary Dell (marydell)
Posted at: August 5th, 2011 02:44 pm (UTC)

Oh, next you'll be saying it's possible to feel more than one way about stuff.

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: August 5th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)

heee

Posted by: Chris (silaren)
Posted at: August 4th, 2011 06:04 pm (UTC)

Yes, but you know, it makes us "uncomfortable" to see someone who is differently (shaped | colored | epicanthic-eye-fold-ed | insert any other way to divide people here)...

(alas, I wish I were kidding)

Posted by: I'm nobody! Who are you? (capriuni)
Posted at: August 5th, 2011 04:56 am (UTC)

*sigh*

And here I've been, thinking that the Paralympics were the Disability-positive alternative to the "Special" Olympics.

...Maybe I'll just be down on all competitive sports?

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