My Body Politic is a book by Simi Linton that reflects her personal story. After becoming paraplegic and experiencing a series of tragic events, she finds herself in a rehabilitation center. Despite the enormous difficulty of the traumatic situation, she later goes to college, joins the political disability movements, and becomes an activist. The goal of this paper is to discuss the major themes that go through Linton story and the impact they might have on the community.
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Lack of directions and information that people with disabilities face when they find themselves in that condition is one of the problems that the author raises in the first part of her book. Many people think that the situation they are facing is unprecedented, and there is no advice they can use that may help them to cope with it. Describing how the patients of the rehabilitation center felt, Linton says, “None of us knew anyone else like us out there” (Linton, 2006, p. 18). The fact is that a crucial problem has severe consequences. This lack of information stops people with disabilities from developing a clear vision of the problem they have to deal with and adds to the sense of hopelessness many of them suffer from. There are measures that can be taken to alleviate the negative impact of this issue. It is necessary to educate patients with disabilities and to provide them with all information regarding their case and proper psychological assistance.
Moreover, people with disabilities require open and direct communication, which should be present in all interactions. It will open up a free space for the idea and opinion exchange, where they will be able to express the underlying problems. By being isolated and closed, an individual with a disability may not know about the fact that he/she also can have a vision and goal to strive to. In the memoir, Linton addresses and perfectly illustrates the case of sex education and how a person with a disability can also enjoy intimacy (Linton, 2006). All of these ideas emphasize the importance of open communication and discussion.
As the title of the book suggests, the story carries not only a personal message but also a political one. The theme of politicization of disability can be seen throughout the book and is one of the central in the memoir. The author uses many examples of her personal friends to tell the story about the political and social barriers that are encountered by physically challenged people in their daily life. In the course of her book Linton depicts the marginalization that the disabled faced in the second part of the twentieth century (Linton, 2006). The author also draws a connection between disability and different forms of injustice in society. This message is relevant because it emphasizes that unnecessary artificial boundaries create almost insurmountable obstacles for people whose situation is already hard. So it is critical to make sure that the disabled and other disadvantaged groups are not discriminated in the society.
The given writing illustrates that a lot of people with disabilities experience acts of discrimination and silent judgment. The author mentions her experiences in the workplace, where co-workers and customers would treat her differently in a disrespectful manner (Linton, 2006). This shows that she seeks to make a political statement of changing the system of discrimination by implementing regulations on workplace ethics. The memoir gives a clear and concise perspective on being an individual with a disability and how bigotry can take place in the professional field.
The idea that despite disability, human life can be full, interesting, happy, and meaningful, is an essential part of the book. The personal example of the author shows that even when challenged with severe problems and obstacles, a person can return to a joyful life and make a difference in the world. It is hard to overstate the importance of this message for the physically challenged people who read this book. Admitting the severity of the situation, it shows the bright side and encourages to keep struggling for a better future and never give up.
In the memoir, Linton demonstrates the example of skater group wedding, where they circle the dance floor on the skates. Although she is on a wheelchair, it did not stop her from enjoying the given activity (Linton, 2006). It is mainly due to the encouragement of her surrounding and likeminded people. It is critically important to allow an individual with a disability to be socially included and accepted. This will give him/her a chance to enjoy and cherish life without being humiliated and judged.
In My Body Politic, Simi Linton draws public attention to problems and difficulties that individuals with challenging physical conditions experience in their lives. This attention is needed to make the community start looking at this issue and taking steps to alleviate the damage, it causes. The story of the author’s struggle for life and justice provides a vivid image of unbreakable will to live. It creates a positive example that helps inspire those who face similar difficulties to keep on living a meaningful life.
Linton, S. (2006). My body politic: A Memoir. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.