“The Womb of Rage”
I laughed just typing that title.
I swear, I don’t go looking for these topics. They just swim to the surface, like disgusting plastic debris in the ocean. Reminding us how, when we try to hide our moral failings, we end up exposing them even more.
The gist of the article (link below) is that an Indian writer named Subhash Chandran created a female character named Amba, who gives birth to a child with disabilities because of not being sexually fulfilled. Asked to clarify if this is how he really views mothers and disabled children, Chandran doubled down on this POV, saying that unsatisfied women are why there exist autism and Down Syndrome.
So hey. As Indian women, we are apparently not stereotyped and shame-worthy enough. Implied in this ungenerous world view is the notion that our husbands are either unskilled, or ignoring consent. But worse is the outright declaration that we women are vengeful enough that we would purposefully gestate our rage into birthing Problematic People. The misuse of the Shakti symbolism is enraging to me. And most importantly, look at what this type of thinking is saying about our children.
DO WE SERIOUSLY NEED MORE WAYS TO PROCLAIM THAT THE DISABLED ARE VIEWED AS TRAGIC BEINGS WHOSE PERCEIVED DEFICITS MUST SOMEHOW BE PATHOLOGIZED?
I contend that we do not. Yet the human mind, especially the ableist one, is flexible as soft plastic, and can concoct many dehumanizing scenarios. It is amazing what we can achieve when we put our neurotypical minds to use.
If anyone disabled wishes to self describe as tragic, I would not be so outraged. But I am so sick of the sainthood/demonhood trap. It isn’t that different from the Madonna/whore dichotomy for women, justifying the desire for sons because daughters are just so demmed inauspicious and doomed in our culture.
How are ableism and sexism similar? Ohh, there are a multitude of ways. But for this post, I am thinking of how, instead of working to overthrow systemic injustice, people choose to tragedy-fy being disabled or female.
Maybe if (Hashtag Not All) men were not so rapey, selfish, and resource grabby, it wouldn’t be such a karmic curse to be a woman (I can attest to how it is otherwise quite pleasant to be female, thank you).
Maybe if the abled didn’t control access to every piece of infrastructure, living with a disability, or being a caregiver to the disabled, would be free of stigma.
Maybe having to basically beg for needed supports, watch your resources dwindle, and endure the stupid, unexamined default of ableist practices is what is dehumanizing about being disabled.
What Subhash Chandran did was to sexo-fy the usual mom blame. Autism moms have been called many things—refrigerator moms, for one. We embody so many fearful tropes for people who seek distance from disability. But throwing sex into that stew of judgment is vile.
We are not your symbols of whatever fear you have that you’re not willing to get help for. Our wombs are not hiding nuclear weaponry and opium. We reject all attempts to use us and our children to justify continued social, legal, and economic injustice.
Worry about your own iniquity. Use your pen (pun intended) to do some good, for heaven’s sake.