Stella Young is a comedian and journalist who happens to go about her day in a wheelchair — a fact that doesn’t, she’d like to make clear, automatically turn her into a noble inspiration to all humanity. In this very funny talk, Young breaks down society's habit of turning disabled people into “inspiration porn.”
For many of us, disabled people are not our teachers, or our doctors, or our manicurists. We’re not real people. We are there to inspire…. I’m not here to inspire you. I’m here to tell you that we’ve been lied to about disability. We’ve been sold the lie that disability is a bad thing… and to live with disability makes you exceptional. It’s not a bad thing, and it doesn’t make you exceptional. And in the past few years we’ve been able to propagate this lie further with what I call “Inspiration Porn” [inspirational posters and quotes about disability]that exceptionalizes and objectifies us. They objectify disabled people for the benefit of non-disabled people. The purpose of these images is to inspire you… and think ‘however bad my life is, it could be worse. I could be that person.” But what if you are that person?