Pony of the day
I hope that everyone who had off for Thanksgiving had a pleasant break.
Things are getting more and more hectic as the semester draws to a close. I'm always glad that finals are sandwiched between two holiday breaks.
Since it is the holiday season, I wanted to link to a particular piece by s.e. smith, a writer and blogger whom I really admire. The post is about the "food guilt" that mainstream American culture associates with the holidays.
I am a fan of smith's work because ou (the writer's chosen pronoun) writing both speaks to my current views and challenges me to question those views and evolve in my political perspective. Here is another recent piece that smith wrote about "cure evangelists," people who push unsolicited health advice, and more generally about the problematic idea that people are socially obligated to be healthy.
Of course as an autist, the phrase "cure evangelism" makes me think of something a little bit different. (Though both conceptually and culturally related.) In the autism community there is significant friction between autists and those parents, guardians, and family members who consider themselves (often extremely adamantly) to be allies yet who firmly believe in "curing" autism. You cannot be an ally to a group of people if you fundamentally believe that those people really shouldn't exist. Even within otherwise progressive communities, it is still socially acceptable to say something like "I love my autistic son, but we really need to find a cure for autism," or "I don't believe in shaming fat people, but we need to end obesity." It's not that the people saying these things are consciously being oppressive or that they are "bad people," it's just that there is a disconnect between people within and outside of the autistic and fat communities. Being autistic or being fat isn't a disease or something that one "has" that is external to one's sense of self--it is a fundamental and inextricable part of a person's experience, like, for example, being gay. I don't have homosexuality, I'm a lesbian. I don't have a mild autistic disorder, I'm an autist. In fact, the very same rhetoric--"I support you, but I ultimately want to 'cure' you (and therefore want people like you to eventually just go away)"--has been and is still used against gay people.
So for today's Free-Response Friday, what are your thoughts? You can argue with me if you want, or let me know what issues you're passionate about. What are your causes? What are you "in the trenches" for? Do your political causes inform your academic interests, and vice versa?