Tower of Dawn
So I think it’s time this fandom had a sit-down and talked some things out. Today’s topic: ableism. Before all of y’all start jumping on me and dismissing me and trying to say I have no right to talk about this, let me tell you a bit about myself.
I was born with spina bifida. For those of you that don’t know that is, it’s when a baby’s spinal chord and nerves don’t develop properly. I had my first surgery to help this condition when I was eight days old. The excess amount of scar tissue in my lower back had begun to wrap around my spinal chord, which for obvious reasons is dangerous. I had the same surgery when I was four years old, and that’s when my life changed forever. I’d been able to walk before using a leg brace, but due to a mistake by the surgeon, my left leg was left paralyzed. I was a normal (and I hate using the word normal here, normal is an absolutely useless construct of society, but for lack of a better word at the moment, bear with me) kid, mobile and able to move around as I pleased, and then I couldn’t. I’ve been using a wheelchair since then. I’m not telling you guys this because I want pity. I don’t. I’ve accepted it as part of my life, and I love myself just the way I am. This little explanation is here so you guys can understand exactly where I’m coming from when you read the rest of this post. So with all this in mind, here goes my not-so-little rant.
DISCLAIMER: I will be calling people out in this post and tagging them because I am done. 1000%, completely fucking done with this fandom. And if this causes a shitstorm, fuck it, because this needs to be said and this fandom needs to learn to stop being hypocritical pieces of crap.
I love these books. I love Sarah’s writing in general, and I would read literally anything she wrote. These books, Aelin’s story, Feyre’s story, are so important to me. I don’t have words to describe how much they mean to me. I love talking about them and healthy and constructive conversations about them. And some of the jokes that have been made by the fandom are some of favorites. I’ve made some of them myself. I’ll joke alongside all of you about wingspans and gold nightgowns for as long as you want.
I want to make something perfectly clear: this rant is in no way a reflection of my thoughts about her books. This post is exclusively about the fandom’s disgusting behavior.
So let’s start with this post that I saw earlier.
Disability is not kinky.
For those of you that can’t understand that, let me repeat it.
Disability is not kinky.
DISABILITY. IS. NOT. KINKY.
This whole post is horrifyingly ableist. And before you guys start claiming that “I have disabled relatives, I can’t be ableist!” (@rowan-stole-my-heart, I’m looking at you. Remember that conversation last year? Nice to know you’re still disgusting), that’s like saying “I have African-American friends, therefore I can’t be racist!”, which is such an inherently flawed line of arguing that it would require a whole other post to address, so I’ll just say don’t try it. I can’t even begin to fathom the mental process all of these people went through to think that this was even remotely acceptable in any way, shape, or form, so let me break this down and explain to you why this isn’t.
This, my horrifyingly inconsiderate friends, is a form of fetishism. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, fetishism is the pathological displacement of erotic interest and satisfaction to a fetish. Now that you know what that is, let’s move on.
This whole fandom has been complaining about a lack of diversity in Sarah’s books since I joined the fandom. Diversity doesn’t just mean POC, which is exactly what this fandom conveniently forgets. Diversity includes POC, people with mental illness, people with physical disability, LGBT+ people, and so much more. And when Sarah finally adds someone who embodies a slice of that diversity, you all have the gall to reduce his situation to sex jokes. All I can say is how dare you. How dare you reduce someone’s life and reality to a kink, to something to be made fun of, to something that spices up your dash and makes it NSFW just because you wanted to make fun of a book cover you probably weren’t satisfied with. In doing so you are insulting the thousands upon thousands of people that are in the same situation. You’re reducing them – reducing me – to a fantasy that you can use and then dismiss the next moment, without regard for anyone’s feelings. Do you have any idea how difficult of a topic sex is for people with disabilities? We are laughed at for wanting sex. Our anxiety when it comes to that is ten times that of any able-bodied person, simply because we don’t fit into the box that society wants to shove everyone into. And you’re making it that much worse because you have the audacity to think the fact that someone can’t move their legs is funny.
It hurts. Reading that post hurt like hell. Because in your eyes – in society’s eyes – people like me aren’t human. We’re just something to ride, right? Yeah, I didn’t miss that little gem of a comment, @readinglikewildfire.
And because I know this is coming, no, Chaol isn’t just a character.
But you know what, I get it. It’s just sex, right? A small joke made, no harm done.
You’re perpetuating yet another harmful concept cooked up by a disgustingly ableist society. Sorry, but your privilege and utter ignorance are showing. I will concede a bit and agree that we can treat fiction for what it is – something that isn’t real – up to a certain point. But you guys just crossed a line. For those of you saying that you feel guilty for laughing, you absolutely fucking should, because this shit isn’t funny.
The fact is if that post had been making fun of race or mental illness, then the fandom would have ripped these people to shreds and they would have been reported many, many times over. But it’s not, and instead I can count on my fingers the number of people that stood up to say this was wrong, because it’s just another wheelchair joke, right? Who cares? To those that did, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, especially @throne-of-omg-the-feels and @midnight-wonder. It’s nice to know there’s still some hope for humanity left. And to @nerdperson524, I agree with you. People do need a laugh, even those that live their lives stuck in chairs. But that post? It’s downright offensive.
So that’s it. I’m done blowing things out of proportion, as some of you will say. If you think I should have approached you privately and messaged you about this instead of publicly calling you out, then maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t have PUBLICLY insulted mocked degraded an entire subset of the human population. And maybe that makes me a bad person. It certainly means I’m not being the bigger person. And I could honestly care less. I am tired. So sick and tired of constantly being the bigger person, of just staying quiet when I see things like this because what’s the use? The entire world is filled with this shit and it’s not like I can fight every time I see this kind of injustice. Nothing’s going to change, no matter what I do. But this? This is where I draw the line. Congratulations.