When I first heard this term, I was confused. I didn’t really understand it and thought it was odd. Basically, inspiration porn is using people with disabilities as an example of inspiration or motivation for able bodied people. We’ve probably seen these pics on Facebook or even shared them as well. I am definitely guilty of sharing these photos and videos in the past.
Some examples of inspiration porn are when people post that they asked someone with Down’s Syndrome to prom, or highlighting the fact that the America’s Got Talent winner was someone who had autism, or like the picture above of a person with a different ability doing something ordinary and we call them ‘inspirational’.
But why? Why do we think these people are inspirational? Why do we feel the need to share these? Why is this actually harmful?
I recognize that I am an able-bodied person writing this post and my views in this space are limited. I highly recommend you watch the Ted Talk featuring Stella Young called “I’m not your inspiration, thank you very much.” I also recommend you actually get out and talk to people who identify as having a disability and start that conversation.
I reached out to one of my friends who uses a wheelchair as her primary means of mobility to get her opinion. I asked her what she would like people to know about why sharing this content is harmful. She shared with me her opinion that people only think these things are inspirational because the people featured are people with disabilities. If it weren’t for that, people wouldn’t think twice.
She also commented that it’s really not inspirational or a good deed to invite someone who has a disability to a party or prom. Why would you be nice to someone just because they have a disability? That’s actually pretty hurtful.
So really think next time you feel that urge to share that pic or video… Are you objectifying people with disabilities?