Ever see images like this?
You likely see images like this all the time. When you see them, how do they make you feel? Are you inspired? If so, why? In April of 2014, Australian comedian, journalist, and disability rights activist, Stella Young, took the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) stage in Sydney, Australia. She proceeded to share a nine-minute talk that has now been viewed more than 2.2 million times. It was aptly titled, Why I’m Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much. In her talk, Stella stated:
I am here to tell you that we have been lied to about disability. We’ve been sold the lie that disability is a Bad Thing... and to live with a disability makes you exceptional. It’s not a bad thing, and it doesn’t make you exceptional. And in the past few years we’ve been able to propagate this lie even further with social media... [with] what we call inspiration porn....[T]hey objectify one group of people for the benefit of another group of people. So in this case, we’re objectifying disabled people for the benefit of nondisabled people. The purpose of these images is to inspire you, to motivate you, so that we can look at them and think, “Well, however bad my life is, it could be worse. I could be that person.” But what if you are that person? (Young, 2014).