Movie Stars and Sensuous Scars
Brown begins the book by telling the readers his personal stories. He recognizes that the best way to create a culture is to share individual experiences with others. The readers would find elements from their lives in the stories. Before he discusses the disability rights movement, Brown tells people his childhood experiences; his suffering from Gaucher’s disease, which makes others understand why he chose to fight for the rights of people with disability.
The author believes that persons with disability could still be healed if not cured. According to Brown, many individuals with invalidity are subjected to shame due to their status (Brown, 2003). They always feel uncomfortable about themselves. He talks of the disability culture and how it affects the invalid persons in the society. These people also seem to have a different kind of lifestyle, which is enhanced by their disabilities. This culture is the difference between the feeling of being alone and the practices that promote emotional, physical, and cognitive loneliness.
Humans should learn to accept differences and vulnerabilities. The culture seeks to make people tolerant to the unpredictability of life and smile no matter how bad their situation may be. Individuals with disability and the public around them need to embrace the difference between them and live together without any form of discrimination.
Without this culture, people with invalidity will always feel ashamed of themselves for not being like the others. The education depends much on long human history, the ability to make humor out of dire situations, and the general view of humanity. This concept is new, but proves to be the best path that when followed would help many disabled people come to terms with their conditions.
The invalidity culture advocates for more interdependence, than having the illusion that people are independent. It does not call upon individuals to have the same perspective on everything or about disability, but instead requires people recognize and value the different ways of living on earth. The various beliefs and perspectives of humans, including the handicapped, should also be respected.
In his book “Movie star and sensuous scars: Essays on the journey from disability shame to disability pride”, Brown discusses the culture in details (Brown, 2003). By first giving an account of his own experience, the reader realizes that the author is well conversant with the topic. The idea is to help the population appreciate and accept people with disability in their midst. The handicapped should be exposed to equal opportunities like the other people. The discrimination and stigmatizations should be stopped.
The disabled people are also called upon to leave their cocoons and socialize with the public. They should not be ashamed of whom they are; they are normal human beings who deserve to live life to the fullest.
The vulnerability and shame, experienced by the disabled people, could be solved. Some get wounded intentionally, while others are intentional. To achieve the journey from shame to pride, there must be a well-informed society, whose members have been taught to respect both the disabled and the “normal” people. The shame that the handicapped have been subjected to could only stop when they are helped to see that their condition is normal and that they are part and parcel of the society.
In one of the chapters, the reader makes humor of how one group envy the other. The assistance given to the disabled people could be a source of jealousy. Other individuals may see them privileged for being assisted. The disabled also see normal people as living a life full of privileges, so this makes them equal, but jealous of each other. He tells the story of an African- American woman who sees white people with a disability and her emotional response is intense. According to Brown, such reply shows how the concept of invalidity culture is powerful.
The notion of common pride came into existence with the formation of women groups and African-American culture. These groups championed for change by looking at what makes them strong and focused on that. The pride is attained when people recognize their weaknesses, accept them, and choose to have positive lives. The disabled humans’ culture is one of vulnerability and misrepresentation by the “normal people”, when they come together like other oppressed groups, then they could make the changes. Brown believes that the handicapped culture would be possible when the oppressed come together to make the presence and experiences known to the dominant group. The disability culture is formed when awareness is created, based on the shared experiences of the oppressed.
I agree with Brown on the fact that there is a need to create a disability culture. The easiest thing to change is oneself. When people with disability come together to celebrate their differences, others would recognize them and respect their existence. The disabled The disabled should not be scared of the society’s opinion, they are special they way they are, normal and talented like the others.
Brown’s own definition of the invalidity culture involves a formed group identity. The shared history of oppression brings people together to fight for better treatment from their fellows. The culture is created by the common history, literature, and music among other factors that help pass the message around. He further states that it involves the disabled feel proud for whom they are: people living with various types of invalidities. The disability is their identity and they need to be proud of it. This handicapped culture would help the disabled in the society find dignity in them and change their lifestyles.
Brown, S. E. (2003). Movie stars and sensuous scars: Essays on the journey from disability shame to disability pride. iUniverse.