I’m a feminist but I’m also a disabled woman. I’m also a woman of color but that’s a post for another day. I bring this up because even though I’m a feminist I have to admit that there are flaws in feminism. Before you disagree with me please realize that flaws are everywhere. We are flawed creatures, things that we believe in are flawed as well. But flaws can be fixed.
The one flaw I see in feminism is the lack of support for disabled women. Here’s the thing about the flaw, being a disabled woman sets up different inequality issues. Some people see disabled women as being weaker than other women. We’re seen as incapable of caring for ourselves or having a spouse.
I don’t think other feminists are purposely leaving out disabled women. I think like most people they are just unaware of the struggles we have to face. For instance , some men think it’s a privilege for them to talk to me. Cat-calling goes to a completely different level. Cat-calling is a whole issue in itself, but when it’s being done to a disabled woman it becomes more dangerous. As history has shown some men believe that women are weak and unable to protect themselves, or at least protect themselves correctly. So the stereotype is that disabled women are not able to defend themselves at all. Because of this some men take cat-calling to another level and often try to overpower the woman physically, especially if she has a physical disability.
I can’t count the amount of times men have told me that I’m not a “real woman ” solely because I’m in a wheelchair. For one thing I’m sure you all can agree that the term “real woman” is offensive and plain out rude. People also tend to believe that disabled women are not able to have a healthy sex life and that we sit in our rooms crying because we are not able to fulfil are sexual wants. I can tell you this is not true.
However, I’ve read an article recently about disabled women hiring men to satisfy their sexual needs. Would I ever do that, no, but not because I don’t agree with it. I’ve just always enjoyed relationships more than hookups. I bring this up because a feminist woman said that this wasn’t right because it made disabled women look insecure and weak ( something close to that). And here is my issue with her claim, I do believe that she is not disabled, so she can not make those claims. I do like that some feminists are trying defend disabled feminists but unless you are disabled you can not truly understand. It would have been better if she talked to a disabled woman who paid for sex and asked how she felt about it. I’ve been hearing about this for years and have only heard positive things. These women aren’t hiring prostitutes off the street, these men are actually coming from agencies that train them. These women are not incompetent, they are very capable of spending their money and enjoying their sex lives. This of course is only in European countries as of right now.
What I want from other feminists is for them to realize that we are dealing with the same inequality issues with a different twist. I want them to include us fully in the fight for inequality without trying to speak for us and letting us express our needs and what things are really bothering us. But even with this I am very happy to be a feminist. I am happy to be apart of a movement that is trying to give equality for not just women but EVERYONE.