Challenging isms: Ableism in Media and the Fashion Industry – An Accurate Representation of the Population

Despite spending most of yesterday collating 6 months worth of pictures plus editing and grouping together pictures for some hopefully totally awesome pieces for the very near future, I fancied freestyling for a while and just chatting with you guys.  I’m going to see how it goes, so if you’re reading this, the following content has been deemed, by me, fit for publication.
I spend a lot of time getting fired up about things.  This used to be a pretty self destructive trait of mine as I would waste time being angry about things that I could do nothing about.  Anger turned inwards leads to deep unhappiness and despair. Harbouring resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die, not to mention totally soul corroding.  So I made a choice to drop those deeply self destructive habits and turn my passion outwards; to funnel it into something that would make a real difference outside of me, and stop it eating away at the hole in my soul.  Because wasting our time on thing outside the realm of our control is. just that, wasting time and wasting energy.
So I asked myself: what do I feel passionate about?  What moves me?  And it’s like the universe came to me with an answer…
No person should be left behind
No person is ‘less than’ or ‘better than’
No person should be judged on things they cannot change
So that takes us to the isms…
Feminism – this is a good ism.  Far from the ‘women taking over the world’ moniker it is often afforded with, feminism is simply about equal rights and equal opportunities.  Women and men are equal in value, and should be afforded the same opportunities.  This is not happening just yet, hence the need for the feminist movement.
Racism – all people are equal in value, and deserve the same opportunities, regardless of the colour of their skin or their religious beliefs.  Racism challenges this, hence the need for the equal right movement.
Ageism – all people are equal in value, and deserve the same opportunities, regardless of age.  Ageism challenges this, challenges this, hence the need for the equal right movement.
There are more, but you get the picture.
I am for equal rights – period.  Gay, straight, black, white, man, woman, young, old we are all people and our worth is not measured by any factor over which we have no control.  We all deserve happiness, and we all deserve respect.

The lesser known ism…

So those of you who read my blog on a regular basis may be familiar with this one.  People with disabilities of all types are now living lives that would not once have been possible.  Like the rise of women from the home into the workplace, into Universities, into lives of their own and not just those dictated to them by their husbands, people with disabilities are breaking out.  As a wheelchair user, I would once have been sat in a wicker chair in the corner of a room and left to stagnate.  A life and a mind wasted.  But no more.  On mass, people with disabilities are taking charge and taking chances.  To go places where the doors are often closed and access often denied.  Where people talk to the person with us, and not to us, regardless of who started the dialogue.  Where appearances and physical difficulties often leave our bodies out in the cold when our minds are screaming out for stimulation.
And this is Ableism in action – the denial of equal rights for those with disabilities just as they were once denied to people of colour.

So what do we do?

I can’t champion everyone, even though in my heart I do just that.  In practice though, one has to choose a niche if we are to fight a corner.  A person too thinly spread will have little or no impact on how the world is run, but a person with a clear and definite purpose has power, and bags of it.  I fight the disability corner.  I long for the day when I see ableism in all it’s forms and permutations eradicated.  We are getting there, but that day is a long way off.  There is a ever growing movement of disabled people, and those who advocate rights for the disabled who are making themselves known.  We are knocking in doors, appearing in magazines, having articles published, and making our intentions known.  We will not stop till we see clear and definite change.
One of the ’causes’ I champion pretty hotly is that of seeing more disabled people in the fashion industry and in media.  As a girl with a heap of glossies by the bed I know how much popular culture shapes the world in which we live.  People take the lead from what they see on the TV screen and in the pages of a newspaper or magazine, and that is exactly why we need to get out there.  I am taking part in some fantastically pro-active initiatives that are just a teeny bit top secret (for now – watch this space), but for now I will just share with you an article that was recently published on – the most fantastic site run by my good friend and fellow fashionista Emily, who is partially sighted.
And that’s enough reading for you guys I think.  I try to balance deep and meaningful with fun and humorous, but I might have overdone it somewhat.  Don’t worry – those fab tutorials and posts on some awesome events are on their way so stay tuned.

17 thoughts on “Challenging isms: Ableism in Media and the Fashion Industry – An Accurate Representation of the Population

  1. Fantastic post, the next britmums politics post is in September, when I do my shout out for posts will you remind me of this one as would love to include it but have a terrible memory'

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