Editorial Note: This post was originally published on Part Time Monster in 2017. It’s my work, and I’m republishing here with permission from the original host. Post contains some discussion of sexual violence.
I was born with cerebral palsy. I have limited use of my legs and my lower leg muscles are basically nonexistent. When I was three, neuromotor specialists began recommending a daily routine of physical therapy to help maintain my level of mobility.
The exercises I’m supposed to do feel like someone is trying to rip my legs apart on a medieval torture device. As a toddler and young child, I was never given an option to refuse this treatment. I have no memory of anyone explaining the benefits of this therapy.
I know I said that Feminist Friday posts would be running every other week, but this one is important and timely, so I’m making an exception.
In 2017, hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets to march in protest of newly inaugurated Pres. Donald Trump. Lots of them were wearing these pink hats with cat ears, and I heard them called “Pussy Hats.”
I was a little late to the show, since the so-called pussy hat movement had been in the makings for months, and I’d never heard of it. But I knew that it was at least partially a reference to the president’s disgusting brag about grabbing women by the pussy.
My reaction was, “Oh wow, how funny!” I like a good pun, and I thought the hats were cool. I didn’t give it much deeper consideration until I noticed that several of my trans and nonbinary friends were saying that the hats and the ideology behind them were exclusionary and harmful.
I was born 2 1/2 months premature. I have cerebral palsy. I use a wheelchair because I have no real use of my lower body, low trunk strength, and limited use of my upper body. I blog mostly by using a voice to text program called Dragon Naturally Speaking.
Dragon makes everything super interesting. Did you know that it can spell words like “Chewbacca” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi” but it can’t remember to capitalize my name unless I tell it to do so with a special command? (My name is a noun, and it always thinks I’m talking about roses when I say my name.)
My disability also affects my vision, visual perception, the clarity of my speech, and my bladder control.
The speech issue is another reason Dragon makes everything more interesting, now that I think about it.