I’m getting really annoyed with how ‘PC’ the world is becoming, particularly in reference to disability. I am disabled, so I honestly think I’m entitled to a view here.
The way we speak of things these days has become so much about not causing offence, that terminology has just become ridiculous. For example, the other day I had to provide a ‘Fit Note’ to prove I am NOT well enough to work. Is it only me that sees how ridiculous calling it a FIT note is???
Firstly, I am far from fit. Secondly, fit note implies you are able and well enough to work. It seems that people no longer like the term ‘sick note’. Because sick is a dirty word. People shouldn’t be sick, especially not for long periods. If you are, hide it! This is where I think the problem lies. Saying you are sick, ill or disabled should not be a bad thing. It is a fact of many people’s lives. We need to use these words MORE. Not less. Rebrand them. Show that people can be sick, and worthwhile people. Accepting you’re sick and disabled isn’t accepting defeat. No, it’s accepting your life is going down a different path, and you’re ready to live if in a different way.
Here are a few other words that either make no sense, or are frowned upon for the wrong reasons.
Handycapable I cannot be the only person on the planet who thinks this just sounds ridiculous? My disabilities do not, in any way, make me more capable. Let’s call a spade a spade people. My disabilities are my handicaps. They make my life harder. Certain things I can no longer do. I am handicapped in areas of my life. Owning that does not make me weak. It means I’m a handicapped person who has enough fight and strength to rise above them. However, behaving as though my handicaps don’t exist just belittles how hard I work to live with them.
Cripple This seems to be another dirty word in today’s language. Unfortunately people have used it as a derogatory term. But it’s a fact of life. I myself am at times a cripple. I’m crippled by pain. I’m crippled by fatigue. I’m crippled by nausea. The list goes on. Luckily, I am not crippled all the time. But some people are. Let’s not sugar coat their struggle in life by being afraid of strong words. (If I catch any of my readers using this one in a derogatory way, I will personally come call you on it.)
Finally, but possibly most importantly there is the word that everyone seems to be afraid of…
Disabled It took me a very long time to accept this label for myself. Some felt I was giving up on life when I started referring to myself as disabled. There is a lot of stigma attached to this word. Stigma which is not helped by ‘Benefits Britain’ type programmes that portray all disabled people as work shy dole bludgers. If you see a person in a wheelchair you’re probably comfortable accepting they’re disabled. But a young woman who looks fit and healthy on the outside? Surely not! Surely she must be faking! This way of thinking is so ingrained that we, as the ‘unseen disabled’ often find ourselves thinking this of our own bodies. This is one of the main reasons I struggled with the label. But, being disabled is not tantamount to failing at life. It was only once I admitted I was disabled I found I could stop fighting my body and start working with it. For me, accepting my limitations has allowed me to finally work with my body and live better.
So you see, these words are not bad unless you choose to make them that way. Actually, they can be pretty empowering.