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seeing. connecting.

March 24, 2012
No Me Mireis!

No Me Mireis! (Photo credit: El Hermano Pila)

 I have been thinking about a lot of different things over the last week – some directly related to disability and occupational therapy and some not necessarily related to those subjects but related to me and my life. So what should I write about today? Well, I watched the movie The Hunger Games last night. It is all the rage with teenagers. I went with my 14 year old daughter. I really enjoyed the movie but as I think about it now, there was not one character in that movie that had an impairment of any kind. OK, there was a heavy drinker but he got it together when there was hope that his effort would make a difference. And there was a woman who shut down for awhile after her husband was killed. My daughter is a beautiful, intelligent, and sensitive person. It would be so nice for her to see movies that showed a wider range of people – more of a rainbow – not just of colours but of abilities, preferences, styles of interaction etc.

It can make people with impairments feel invisible. In my movie-watching experience, most women with depression are portrayed in movies as immobile (which can definitely be one symptom of depression) but my depression doesn’t look like that. The couple of times that I’ve read a book and one of the character’s expressed feelings similar to what I have experienced with depression, I have almost yelled “ah-ha”. I wonder how this “invisibility” impacts feelings of connection. Humans are social living organisms – even those of us who savour our time alone. I struggle when my desire to connect with the people with whom I work crashes into guidelines about professionalism. I value the aspect of professionalism that protects clients from therapists who may ‘use’ their clients to meet their own needs.  However, what might an OT do if she finds a piece of clothing that makes it easier for a client? Can she purchase it and give it to the client or does she need to resist this desire to give – to connect?

Sheila Howick Hamilton

One Comment
  1. I’m leaving a comment on my own blog. A little odd I know, but it is in response to a verbal comment I received about this post. Someone said that they thought I was taking things too far because really where would a person in a wheelchair fit into the movie’s story? At the time, I had no response. I do not think quickly on my feet but here is my response now. Oh, before I do that, I am definitely not stating that this particular author and screenwriter ‘should’ have included people with impairments in their story. In my original post, I was just meandering from thinking about a specific movie to thinking about popular movies in general.

    So here goes my response to the verbal comment, there were many places disabled people or people with impairments could have figured in the story. That said, even if I wasn’t creative enough to think of where they could have been in the story, that doesn’t mean that I am taking the idea of inclusion too far. It is just a reflection of how our culture doesn’t try very hard to include everyone. In fact, our culture is sometimes very creative in figuring out ways to exclude and to oppress people who stray too far from the norm but that is a topic for a future blog. What do you think? Have I gone too far?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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