Disability and Desirability

Self esteem and ableism: why you can’t achieve one without demolishing the other

Morgan Kelly from @morgankelly20 on Instagram, talks about self esteem, sex, and desirability as a disabled woman. 

We live in a world where the disabled community is merely an afterthought. Our access, our inclusion, and even our social lives remain on society’s back burner. Most of us as a whole are trapped into poverty due to the oppression we face daily. Between fighting for inclusivity and just trying to remain stable during flu season we’re a lot more active then you think. I know you’re still probably a little confused as to what activism is actually occurring, so let me explain. 

SSI only pays roughly 770 a month to disabled people like myself basically only paying for rent. So your next step logically is to find a job, which would be great if local businesses actually took the time to accommodate an employee but most don’t even follow ADA guidelines enforcing the stigma that my people are bored, Ill, good for nothing, isolated home bodies. I wish people could understand how detrimental that is to one’s mental health, especially when we live in an era of productivity and social presence equaling worth. We are hard wired by societal conditioning to feel like a broken failed mutation as is. As if my body is my overall financial outcome. But hey, speaking of bodies, this leads me to my next point: being viewed as sexually desirable.

I’m gonna say this loud and clear considering to this day it’s the number one  question I get asked: yes I CAN have sex, my vagina DOES work, and I AM sexually desirable. Even though society has painted this unattainable image of the perfect women being someone with a perfectly proportioned ass/set of titties/ pair of legs, I am still able to give and receive affection just the same if not better. But unfortunately our generation is the definition of shallow and it’s a construct that’s been built to perfection, hopefully in 2020 that construct will be destroyed. I try to fight the stigma of being an undesirable, innocent little disabled angel every day.  I’m not gonna lie, I think I’m doing a damn good job and to anyone afraid of being with someone like myself due to absurd societal constructs, you’re simply missing out.

Not everyone has my mindset though which is why representation in the media is crucial to a young disabled person's mental growth and well being but again, it’s not done. It all stems back to the concept of institutionalized stigmatization. But I truly believe the time to eradicate those beliefs is now. Now don’t get me wrong, MASSIVE milestones in the creative realm as far as inclusivity are being pursued and achieved, but artists portraying people with disabilities in a raw and real fashion is still a complete rarity. There’s no way to say this easily or concisely, but Hollywood is still sorely lacking in diversity.

As you can see, our work is so cut out for us it’s not even funny. But I will always have hope that I can be part of the reason these things change and I know I was put on this earth to do so. My self esteem is a work in progress but you know, so is fighting ableism. My point is though, that self esteem and ableism go hand in hand. Fingers crossed that they break up soon, I think they both need to work on themselves.