Nancy Mairs author of Disability- a self-claimed “radical feminist and cripple” with many accomplishments and degrees under her belt, Nancy is known to “speak the ‘unspeakable’” in her poetry, memoirs and essays, especially in Disability which was first published in the New York Times in 1987.
Mairs starts her essay by describing herself as a crippled woman with multiple sclerosis, speaks about her condition and states how she’s never noticed a cripple woman like her in the media.
She then mentions that when some television shows actually do portray someone with multiple sclerosis- or a like disability, it’s focused almost entirely on the disability rather than the person’s character and the experiences they could have in spite of their illness.
She states that although such disabilities signify a major change in one’s life, they dont kill him or her. She for example, could do and does the same as any other woman her age.
One of Nancy Mairs’ aims is making a change regarding the association between media and people with disabilities. Although she, herself is a great consumer, she’s bothered that not many advertisements would include someone like her to represent their products. Even moving her to ask a local advertiser as to why. His reply was, that he didn’t want to give people the idea that the product were just for the handicapped. The author feels the true reason behind it is that people cannot yet accept disabilities as something ordinary, resulting in a subject to be effaced completely- isolated.
What is a normal person? Is it a man playing basketball with his friends in a park? Is it a woman riding horses through a grassy field? Or is it the double amputee that wears expensive sunglasses on a summer day? These images have all been depicted in the media, but the latter is not shown as frequently. If the media features disabled persons more often and in a better light, it will become the ...
She feels such isolation bears painful, even dangerous consequences on the disabled. Making them feel as if they’re not there- that they don’t exist.
Nancy concludes by bringing light to the fact that in today’s complex world at any given time an able-bodied could become disabled. And although the transition would be rather difficult on anyone, if disability were viewed more often as a normality and we grew accustomed to seeing these characteristics, it would be a bit easier psychologically.
Nancy Mairs’ goal in this essay is to show that people with disabilities are just like everyone else and should be accepted and included in daily activities.