” I want people to feel new feelings that they didn’t know they had. The time for boring ethical discussions around disability is over. It’s only through feelings of admiration, aspiration, curiosity and envy that we can move forward.”
Reading Scott’s blog and watching Viktoria Modesta’s video certainly started my thought processes moving and encouraged excellent discussion with plenty of great and varied opinions within the Jack in the box team.Pop artist Viktoria Modesta – www.viktoriamodesta.com
Interestingly it had me thinking about my father. A man who was badly wounded and lost his left arm just above his elbow during a very fierce battle in WW2. I cannot remember my siblings and I ever thinking or seeing him as someone different or disabled. And as far as I am aware he never really saw himself as someone with adisability. He was an amazing hockey player (goalie) and cricketer (bowler), worked the farm with confidence and I never saw him consider a task too hard or something he could not do. He was also a man of integrity and great humility and as our local MLA – a quiet achiever. BUT did the wider community see him as a person with a disability– probably. Although his attitude and actions would have had to have an impact on their thoughts.
Similarly it could be said that Viktoria’s attitude and actions have had an impact on people’s thoughts and ideas of adisability. My understanding of Viktoria’s message is one of ‘I am different and people should embrace that difference and I am going to use that difference to create ‘feelings of admiration, aspiration, curiosity and envy,’ thus allowing Viktoria to exist in the mainstream without apology.
I think Viktoria Modesta is an amazing young woman, the prostheses that she uses is covered with bling and is spectacular. Her message is loud, clear and without apology. The video is a must see.
There is another side to the disability story. It is very important and must be told. We should not lose sight of the importance of the immense work that has gone into educating society in seeing a person first and the disability second. This has been paramount in the normalisation and acceptance of people with a disability into mainstream society. We cannot forget our, not so distant, past history of hiding people with disabilities away, often in institutions. Their difference was not celebrated but considered abnormal.
Whilst I applaud Viktoria’s attitude and uniqueness, and I am sure there are others who may have a similar attitude which we must acknowledge how important it has been and a great step forward to see the normalisation and acceptance of people with a disability within our society. This acceptance from the wider community has allowed many people to live independently and with dignity. Nonetheless, education of the wider community and the assistance and support given to people with disabilities continues to be paramount in ensuring that our societyviews the person first and then the disability.