So, there was an ad broadcast concurrent with the paralympics by candy company Maltesers. It reminds me of a couple of times in the past where I’ve had to confront the ableist bullshit expectations of various persons… but not in a bad way:
20 or 25 years ago, a magazine called Mouth – the best damn disability-oriented rag in the US ever – published a “Sex Issue!” Shortly thereafter, a local librarian who had supported her library adding Mouth to their periodical collection wrote in saying that she was cancelling the subscription because it is “unseemly to bring sex to the attention of the disabled.” This has always been laughable to me – or at least has been laughable since my early adolescence. Who the fuck isn’t acquainted with sex as an adult? You think polio stopped women from fantasizing about Katherine Hepburn or guys from fantasizing about Rock Hudson? Not a chance, my good readers. Not. A. Chance. Yet some people continue to cling to the idea that losing a couple of legs piloting an aircraft in a combat zone is suddenly going to cause someone to renounce coitus? I think the odds are firmly against that one.
People are so wedded to the idea of crippled celibacy that language that otherwise might be seen as entirely unfit for a given context instead passes without notice. There have been quite a number of times when I’ve had to point out just exactly how kinky the phrase “wheelchair bound” can be. Several of those times the following silence has been very, very awkward.
I have no idea if you’re someone who has or hasn’t thought about the sexual humanity of persons with disabilities. But since more and more people seem to be willing to engage in humor at the expense of those who react like an ableist librarian, if you haven’t thought it through yet, this ad suggests your time to do so before you find yourself at the awkward end of a joke is diminishing quickly.