Feminism And Disability

Brand: Univ of Oklahoma Pr

Feminism And Disability

  • Publish Date: 1993-06-01
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: Barbara Hillyer
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Most women's lives are touched by disability, either their own limitations or those of someone for whom they care; and the institutionalized inequality that women face is no less a reality for women with disabilities. Yet to a great extent the feminist and disability communities have failed to form a significant coalition or even to comprehend women's experiences of disability.
Written from Barbara Hillyer's perspective as a teacher of feminist theory and the mother of a young woman with multiple disabilities, Feminism and Disability blends personal, political, and intellectual insights to enrich both feminist theory and disability theory. It explores issues of vital concern to women with disabilities and women caregivers: body awareness, community and reciprocity, fatigue, the supposed dichotomy between nature and technology, codependence. and recovery programs. The ways in which cultural standards of language, independence, pace, cheerfulness, mother-blaming, and grief limit our understanding are explained and confronted. Throughout, Hillyer advocates that women recognize and integrate weakness along with strength.
The text challenges political movements that emphasize productivity and normalization to accommodate some less heroic aspects of the human condition: that all people need help in development at all stages; that death is not always the worst thing that can happen to a person; that senility and degenerative diseases undermine belief in life as a growth process; that some losses cannot be restored. Being limited and knowing it, Hillyer shows, permit both compassion and political cooperation.
Feminism and Disability is a scholarly tour de force, a comprehensive survey of various specialized literatures decoded and compared in light of women's autobiographical narratives of limitation and ability. Its conclusions are bold and liberating. Certain to be a milestone in the development of feminism and disability rights, it offers a new, holistic view that will energize discourse, influence policy, and change lives.

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