#inspiration porn is probably a new term for many people reading this. However, it's a pretty big irritation to the #Disability community. Disabled people's voices are becoming more amplified thanks to social media and platforms like this. Since it's nearing Valentine's Day (and everybody and their sister will be sharing videos of people with disabilities going to school dances as though it's a big deal) I've chosen now to talk about it.

Inspiration porn objectifies the disabled

Inspiration porn can be more insidious than inspiring since it takes many forms. Sometimes, it's the picture of a disabled athlete running while the caption asks what the reader's excuse for not being the best at whatever they can be.

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Other times, it's someone repeating the often repeated always repeated saying, "The only disability in life is a bad attitude." And sometimes it's the story of a random high school football player taking someone with a disability to the school dance.

All these stories have one thing in common: They exist to make non-disabled people feel good. Much like regular porn, inspiration porn exists to make one group of people feel good at the expense of others. Inspiration porn treats the disabled as someone to motivate them to do better or feel good about their lot in life. It also has the really annoying side-effect of random people we've never met walk up to us and tell us how brave or inspiring we are. The fact that unpopular groups like Autism Speaks tend to spread a lot of it just makes it worse.

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The more insidious effect of inspiration porn

The proliferation of inspiration porn brings more destructive problems. Our media is so saturated with tales of the disabled person who became a CEO or a famous inventor, that we as a society don't accept the idea that not every disabled person can do that. It's sort of like how some fashion magazines have set the standard of beauty so high that some people go to harmful lengths to meet them. A lot of people who can't meet the standard set by the CEO in the wheelchair or the blind guy who is a master of Judo can fall into literal depression. This is not helped by family members who insist that they can meet those standards if they just try hard enough.

Perhaps the worst part is that inspiration porn gives society a reason to think that the #disability rights movement is no longer needed. They can look at the stories of teenagers in nursing homes, the fact that some communities remain very inaccessible, stories of disabled people being straight up murdered by their family members and getting off with a slap on the wrist, and counter with some story of a random disabled person who managed to beat the odds and claim that everything is fine and that no more improvements need to be made to the system.

The fact is, there is always room for improvement.Not calling us inspirational when we go out to get the mail is a good place to start.