Note: for this post I’m generalising gender but please note – I’m aware that there’s so much more to gender than how I’ve stereotypically described. For the sake of the post, stick wi mi…
So, I’m on the train home as I write this after a fantastic night out celebrating my friends engagement (shout out Thierry and Kate!). But even now as I’ve waited for the train a group of men look over at me, nudge each other and smirk. They carry on laughing as if they’re in the back of the classroom whispering away. I feel myself go red. I’m tired of men doing this. It was the same last night. I set off all dressed up nice (if I say so miself) and I probably passed about 5 groups of men who sniggered in the space of a 2 minute stroll.
Non disabled people will say some of the following…
Just ignore it!
This is so hard to do. As an empathetic feeling sponge I sense EVERYTHING. Theres literally no way of me ignoring it, yes you can choose not to dwell on it – but that takes a lot of effort
They probably fancy you!
The “trying to be reassuring” answer. Which, I do think there’s an element of men thinking that disabled people aren’t supposed to be attractive and laughter is their default reaction if they god forbid happen to see an attractive disabled woman. But, the intimidating looks is definitely not how a man looks when they fancy someone
Insert insults here
Now this is probably my preferred reply. Realistically I’m not going to approach these men on my own and am I going to change their attitude? Probably not. So yeah insulting them and calling them fun made up offensive names dulls the sting a little
Anyway, I don’t know what my point is of this blog. I just wanted to show that yes I go out and I have fun as a wheelchair user. But these attitudes are tiring. It’s a constant sting at my self esteem and it takes a lot of work to undo the negative consequences.
If I could ask anything of people – it’s to look out for us. If you see something like this happen, talk to the disabled person make sure they’re ok. Talk to your kids about disability and normalise it. I want to live in a world where I can go out and not be laughed at. Anyway, at least I was wearing a banging outfit…