"What's wrong with you?"
This was the sentence of the week. I first heard it in response to the now viral "artistic" photo shoot featuring one of the Kardashian/Jenner bunch posing in fetish attire and sitting in a golden wheelchair. I'm not going to post the photos. If you're curious please feel free to Google. That way you can also see all of the responses from the disabled community.
Just a few days ago, the question was directed at me during a Christmas party I attended. A man I didn't know (a very drunk man) staggered over to me and asked, "So...what's wrong with you?"
Now I don't necessarily mind that question. In fact, I generally prefer to answer the curiosity of a child or well-meaning adult because it ultimately makes me more accessible (pun intended). But when dealing with a smart-ass or a drunk, my standard response is, "What's wrong with you?"
I was more annoyed than offended, and eventually answered him - Cerebral Palsy since birth - and watched it sink in. It reminded me of what Robert Casey, President of Maggie models, had to say about the Interview Magazine spread featuring an able-bodied model. “I sincerely believe they didn't mean offense, or even thought of the disabled community at all -- which is in and of itself another problem. They more so owe an apology for bad taste and poor execution of a tacky stunt.”
This is something I forget about, the fact that people often overlook what they don't understand - and they can't understand anything that is inaccurately or incompletely portrayed. In a world that bombards us with information it becomes difficult to hear anything but the shrillest of voices; to see anything but the crassest of images. A competition for attention is hard to win; but not impossible.
So here's what a wheelchair dependent model looks like:
And here's what a wheelchair (sometimes walker) dependent, curvy, over 50, fashion-obsessed, style-minded, Nashville-loving woman looks like during a small business event at Sunnyband