Feminist Disability Study

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Disability is a concept established to shatter and break down myths and stereotypes towards those who are disabled or classified as the “other” according to Western notions. Creating a criterion of what an able-bodied person is supposed to be like and anyone who does not fit this standard is “disabled”. Feminist disability studies take this explanation a step further, by conceptualizing the oppressions experienced by individuals who do not fit the social norms and how it affects them, through using the concept of intersectionality, as a tool to illustrate this. Case studies will be of an African context, especially that of the sub Saharan Africa region to share what are feminist responses pertaining to Africans. Case studies will focus on intellectual…show more content…
Where the notion of what disability is defined as from a social context. Which, in the eyes of society is largely viewed as a physical disability for it to be considered as legitimate. This excludes other forms of disability, such as a “learning disability” (Petersen, 2006: 727). Where students often find difficulty in learning within educational institutions that offer a conventional way of learning, which is not suited to accommodate all students’ individual needs. Resulting in the students who do not adapt to the conventional way of learning, having to receive “special education” (Petersen, 2006: 727). The problem with special education is that it negatively affects those with learning disabilities in that it further perpetuates exclusivity that is of a gendered and racial nature. For example, males and females are treated differently according to their genders at school, in terms of the opportunities that they are given and the achievements they receive as a reward for their academic efforts. Through males being taught that they are smarter than females and therefore need to work harder (Petersen, 2006: 729). Racially, for example in the US, Black and Latino students are the highest enrolled into the special education programme because of labels being imposed on them such as having “mild mental retardation and/or emotional disturbance” (Erevelles & Minear, 2010: 131).…show more content…
However, there is criticism with using intersectionality within the feminist disability theory. One prominent argument is that Crenshaw mentions that within movements such as the LGBT, Black Power and the Feminist Movement have often neglected “intra-group differences” and this has led to tensions among these movements that intend to fight marginalization (Erevelles & Minear, 2010: 129). This results in some anti-oppression movements dominating others, such as the Disability Rights Movement being side-lined for the preference of the Feminist Movement. Therefore, creating a contradiction, as these movements all want inclusivity but result in some being excluded. However, despite this criticism, intersectionality is the best concept that is useful in the addressing of “multiple differences” between the various identities (Erevelles & Minear, 2010:

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