Thursday, May 28, 2020

It’s as if People Who Have no Limbs Don’t Exist

There is now a Barbie doll that has a partially amputated leg and among her accessories is a removable prosthesis. 

Some people think this is a big deal for cripples. Now that the Mattel company has officially acknowledged our existence, that means that we, as a crippled people, have arrived at the Promised Land.
Well far be it from me to be a buzzkill, but I’m not satisfied. I don’t think this paltry gesture is nearly good enough. Our journey as cripples is not complete. We have not arrived. As long as Barbie is missing just one limb, we are, at best, one fourth of the way there.

I’ll admit that a 1.5 legged Barbie is small step forward. But we can’t let it stop there. I can’t help but think about the all the cripples I’ve known who are missing more than one limb. Hell, I’ve known many cripples who have no limbs at all and they’re all fine upstanding people. Well, they’re all fine people, anyway. But what about them? Aren’t they our brethren? They deserve their chance to stand up and be counted. Well, they deserve their chance to be counted, anyway.
We live in a society where it’s as if people who have no limbs don’t exist. And I for one am sick of it! And Barbie, whether she wants to admit or not, is a powerful agent for change. She makes a fashion statement and millions of people follow. Her status as a global celebrity gives her a unique platform and she cannot shirk her responsibility to use it to lift up the marginalized. And who’s more marginalized than people with no limbs?

So we have to demand that Barbie lead the way. If Barbie wants to truly call herself a cripple ally, she must do more. And the beautiful thing about it is, there’s no need to manufacture a special, limited edition, limbless Barbie. There just needs to be a corporate decree that henceforth, all Barbie’s shall be manufactured with limbs that can be easily jettisoned. That way, whoever is playing with a given Barbie on a given day can just mix and match.

Then Barbie will have done her part.

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