Last week in Today’s Lady News, I posted about a man in Connecticut who had his sexual assault conviction overturned by a court. Richard Fourtin, Jr. had raped a woman with severe cerebral palsy; she cannot speak and has little body movement. The sexual assault conviction was overturned on the grounds that it could not be proven she refused consent. You can read more about the specifics of the case here and here.
After the post ran, I received an email from a reader, who asked to go by the name Les, regarding the language I used in reference to people with disabilities. For example, I wrote “mental disability” instead of “intellectual disability,” which Les explained in the preferred phrasing. I was unaware of the language disability rights advocates suggest us journalists/bloggers use, so I found the email to be really educational. I asked her permission to print her email as a “Letter To The Editor.” You can read it after the jump! Keep reading »
Photographer Holly Norris says on her website, “Rarely, if ever, are women with disabilities portrayed in anything other than an asexual manner, for ‘disabled’ bodies are largely perceived as ‘undesirable.’” To combat that perception, Norris has chosen to spoof the highly identifiable American Apparel ads, which the company claims feature “real women,” though only real women who fit a very specific look — young, thin, and uber-sexual. In her series “American Able,” Norris has photographed Jes, a disabled woman, in American Apparel clothes and in the style of AA ads, in order to “reveal the ways in which women with disabilities are invisibilized in advertising and mass media.” Norris’ photographs are beautiful and I love the positive and forward-thinking mission of the work, which doesn’t just criticize mass market thinking but also presents an alternative. As for Jes? Her photographs have more personality than all the AA ads I’ve ever seen put together. Take that, Dov Charney.
Check out a few more photos after the jump and then check out the entire series on Norris’ website. [Holly Norris] Keep reading »
Cambodia put the kibosh on a “Miss Land Mine” beauty pageant today, forbidding women who have been injured by land mines to strut their stuff.
According to the Miss Landmine Cambodia 2009 web site, 20 women, ages 18 to 48, who had been disabled by a land mine sometime since 1979, had hoped to compete. Pageant officials say the Miss Land Mine pageant, which took place in Angola last year, not only raises awareness about land mines, but it gives disabled women with prosthetic arms and legs a once-in-a-lifetime chance to vie for a beauty queen crown. Keep reading »