no more inspiration porn

Inspiration porn

I came across a term the other day that I have never heard before, “Inspiration Porn.” My shout of “EUREKA” may have been heard across the globe. I’ve searched for a term for this phenomenon before and Inspiration Porn nails it.
Inspiration porn is an image of a person with a disability, doing something completely ordinary – like playing, or talking, or running, or drawing a picture, or hitting a tennis ball – carrying a caption like “your excuse is invalid” or “before you quit, try.” It often includes the quote:
“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”
– cancer survivor Scott Hamilton
I despise the frequent memes featuring a disabled person doing something and pointing out that no one else has any excuses because if even a disabled person can do it so can you. For example, there is a meme I see all the time of a young kid running on artificial legs with the caption, “Your excuse is invalid.” Putting aside the fact that people are not going to be motivated by a meme, I find this meme insulting.  It serves to remind the able bodied that their lives aren’t as bad as they think they are, because at least they aren’t disabled. You don’t want to go running because it’s hard? Well you should do it because after all, at least you have legs. What this says is that living with a disability is the worst thing that can happen. I find this dehumanizing to disabled people.
While of course it is wonderful to see disabled people making extraordinary achievements, it becomes problematic when we hold them up as a community standard. “You have a painful chronic illness so you can’t run? If someone without legs can run so can you. What’s your excuse?”  Pointing out that someone else has it worse so you are responsible for your own failure to achieve xyz is textbook shaming. It tells disabled people that they are not good enough because someone else with a disability did it better. It says that disabled people are not allowed to share their fears or negative feelings because they are supposed to be an inspiration to everyone else. It says that if a disabled person isn’t always happy and achieving glorious things they should be ashamed. The really terrible part is this shaming comes from a place of fear of becoming as incomplete as a disabled person.
Life is not the oppression Olympics. We all have our struggles, we all deal with different problems and we all have to continue on with our lives. It is not helpful to point out that there is someone (often a disabled or sick person) who always has it worse. It is not helpful to point out all the inspirational disabled or sick people and hold the entire community to the same standard. Stop the shaming and think twice before posting memes featured disabled people to motivate the able bodied.
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4 thoughts on “Inspiration porn

  1. Thanks for sharing this at Fibro Friday and bringing this to my attention… don't know what rock I've been under but did not know this existed

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