Have you heard of The Spoon Theory? Well a lot of people in the social justice community have. Instead of respecting and trying to understand what this analogy does for people with invisible disabilities and how we suffer daily, they’ve taken it to mean anything that upsets them, especially in the context of dealing with social justice issues.
Yeah, I get it. It sucks repeating the same thing about feminism or any other oppression and can get frustrating and tiring. However it is nothing like having a chronic disability like lupus.
I would know, I’m disabled. I may not have lupus, but i suffer from other things like IBS. I never knew real chronic fatigue and pain until IBS. What a normal person might call out sick for, I just have to deal with because then I’d be calling out sick every fucking day. I still miss a lot of work because of these symptoms, but luckily am protected by fmla.
Sometimes the hardest things to do is wake up in the morning. If I do a task that is more than sedentary, I can be in pain for days. When I am unable to eat because my IBS makes me nauseous, I barely have the energy to get through the day.
This is what the author of The Spoon Theory was trying to convey. Chronic illness is invisible, only we know how we get through everyday, and just like she says it comes with making choices about what you will do that day, because it sure as hell will affect you tomorrow. It explains why we can’t do simple things after a little bit of activity. It explains the limitations put on our life because of our illness.
So when some SJ idiot starts saying they don’t “have the spoons” to deal with something someone said was offensive, I’d wish they’d shove it up their ass.
If you use this expression and are not disabled, you are appropriating a term meant specifically for people who suffer from chronic fatigue and pain. You’re ignoring the true spirit of the analogy and are being an ableist fuckhead for reducing our daily struggle to get by with something that just upsets you.
Even if you are disabled, using that expression to refer to something that is just frustrating and you don’t want to deal with belittles the meaning and what we are trying to convey.
So stop it. It doesn’t make you look more socially aware, just fucking stupid.
Edit: And just to clarify, I suffer from depression and anxiety too, and they certainly have a physical effect that can be explained with the spoon metaphor. The whole concept started from “but you don’t look sick”, which is the host of the article I linked to, and applies nicely to all invisible illnesses that bring chronic pain and fatigue, that make every day a daily battle but you can’t explain to your coworkers, your friends, your family, because they don’t experience it. This is why I hate when the spoon theory is taken out of disability context and made into way to say “i’m frustrated with this argument” in social justice discussions.
Also for clarification purposes, this rant was made in response to what happened on shakesville.