The Exploitation of People With Disabilities and Inspiration

Claire Smyth by Claire Smyth Additional Needs

Claire Smyth

Claire Smyth

Such a picture (as above) is meant to inspire people who do not have disabilities to persevere and go on to achieve similar great things themselves.

But many people in the disability community feel that this sort of thing exploits and objectifies the disabled.

It’s called, "Inspiration Porn", which is when a person with a disability is considered inspirational based exclusively on their disability alone.

As if there is nothing more to that person than their disability.

People with disabilities do not exist to be the inspiration or entertainment of others or to make others feel good about themselves.

And I know this is not quite the same thing, but after the heartbreaking experience of my daughter, who has disabilities, have her entire life defined by someone who witnessed a public meltdown, I have to say that I agree.

No one with a disability should be defined by their disability.

Neither should anyone be defined by one aspect of their disability.

As a blogger and vlogger about life with my disabled daughter, I need to be hyper-conscious of what I document for the whole world to see through my writing and the lens of my camera, because there is a fine line between being exploitative and informative.

Deciding what to share is a daunting and monumental responsibility because what I write and film about her has the potential to either positively or negatively affect and reflect not only on her, but on every single other individual in the world who has similar disabilities!

My daughter cannot read what I write about her, nor does she really comprehend that the videos I share about our life together online can potentially be seen by the whole world and not just by her or those with whom we choose to share!

So, out of respect and love for my daughter and all others who have disabilities, I have developed two rules to guide my publishing and posting decisions.

1. If she asks me not to film her, I don’t.

2. I never publish anything about her that I would not want the whole world to see if it were me I would love to hear the thoughts of others on this subject.

If you have any other suggestions that will help make proper posting and publishing decisions concerning our loved ones with disabilities, please share them.


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