Expert Group Meeting on Mainstreaming Disability in Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) policies, processes and mechanisms: Development for All

results from the meeting and background documents here

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7 thoughts on “Expert Group Meeting on Mainstreaming Disability in Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) policies, processes and mechanisms: Development for All

  1. To start to think about it, I’d suggest we ask first what we think of models, the use of them, and how benigh or malign that use in society is. Along with that, it would be great to know what some disabled women think about it. I worry that were I a physically disabled woman, I’d be unhappy about it, for the suggestion that the acceptance of disabled women is conditional on their being otherwise physically what is considered perfect.

  2. jj,

    I have similar misgivings. I am not really comfortable with any modeling competition, so it is hard to feel any better about this one. Part of what I do find interesting is that for the most part, this seems to be about overcoming disability rather than accepting it. The seem to try to hide disability using artificial limbs etc, but then just deliberately show a glimpse of it.

  3. So the series this clip advertising claims to “challenge our ideas of beauty”. How might it do that in the context of women with bodies that depart, in various ways, from existing standards of bodily perfection? Well, it might show models that partially pass those standards, but then have some feature (a missing hand, a prosthetic leg) that one wouldn’t expect to see, given the norms that govern feminine beauty. That’s what the clip seems to do, and the natural question to ask is how do they handle this in the series itself? Anyone get BBC3?

    I’m not sure about whether this series presents itself in terms of “overcoming disability” rather than “accepting it”, simply because there are glimpses rather than something more fetishistic or stare-worthy. For simply the juxtaposition of models approximating the standards of beauty for Norms with visible bodily impairment (or what many would take to be such) is enough to at least raise questions about those standards.

  4. Spirit,
    I’m not sure it is correct that “simply the juxtaposition of models approximating the standards of beauty for Norms with visible bodily impairment (or what many would take to be such) is enough to at least raise questions about those standards.” I probably should press you on what the questions are and for whom are they raised, but a simpler point might be that in fashion it is often enough the case that something not conforming to the admired standard gets included in order to reaffirm the admired standard. Models photographed in decrepit alleys at night do not tend to raise questions about spending ridiculous amounts of money on fashion, or at least they’re not supposed to and I doubt that for many they do do that..

  5. There’s clearly a double-take intended by those who made the clip–the series, who knows?–and the sorts of question I had in mind were these: Should it make a difference to judgments of beauty that a person has a visible disability”? What aesthetic reactions do we have to missing or replaced limbs or their parts, and why? What do “model standards” of beauty have to do with normal bodies? Is there a distinction between beauty and parabeauty (like that between the Olympics / Paralympics)?

    But maybe less credit is due: the BBC has just found a way to parasitize two debauched sets of desires in the name of increasing ratings–those focussed on glam beauty, and those that drove audiences to freak shows in times past.

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