Intersecionality and bodies
September 25, 2014 7:54 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to read about the intersection of bodies, disability, race, gender, and class. All writing (and other?) genres welcome.

I work as a nurse serving a homeless people. So I'm thinking all the time about how poverty and systems of oppressions (namely racism, but others too) effect people’s health and bodies. (Addiction is another big theme but I'm not as intersted in writing that is primarily focused on addiction.) I’d like to read more about these intersecting issues and am interested in actually any genre of writing (or film or visual art or other media) that explores these issues. Academic writing, poetry, popular nonfiction, journalism, memoirs, museum installation pieces, whatever.

I know this is super open-ended but basically, any work that focuses on how our bodies and health and ability (or perceptions of ability) are impacted by our cultural and socioeconomic context.

Suggestions? Thank you!
posted by latkes to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Typo in my title! Oh well.
posted by latkes at 7:54 AM on September 25, 2014

The National Federation of the Blind is very vocal about physical fitness and blindness. It's common for mainstreamed blind students to be allowed to skip phys. ed. classes, for example (and just sit in the corner of the gym being ignored). They have a lot of good articles on their web site, such as this one.
posted by Melismata at 8:10 AM on September 25, 2014

I really like Mia Mingus' works. Here's a speech she did at a femme conference - the rest of her blog is pretty great too.
posted by Conspire at 8:39 AM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Feminists with Disabilities, now defunct, is a wonderful blog. It's generally focused on social constructs of disability and gender and their intersections. A lot of the contributors have their own blogs as well, so you may want to explore out from there.
posted by jaguar at 9:18 AM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Tell them who I am" was the main text for my class on "Homelessness and Public Policy" at SFSU. It talks some about how some of the women on the street just can't quite fit in anywhere and that's the root cause of their homelessness. One woman wore heavy glasses and I think was missing an ear and I think had other issues.

I have not seen it, but it sounds to me like "The Vagina Monologues" would also fit the bill. It started as a play and was eventually made into a movie. From what I have read, the play evolves and puts in updated monologues annually. So you could look for a local production of it (say, at a college -- that seems to be common) or get a copy of the film version.

I also kind of want to say that if you can get a copy of one of Whoopi Goldberg's early HBO specials, that might interest you. I remember her doing a stand-up routine which was, in a way, not very funny. It was very much commentary on some very heavy social issues. One of the characters in her routine was, if I recall correctly, a black girl who would pretend she was white and had long blonde hair. And, again, iirc, the girl was disabled because of a botched abortion attempt -- in other words, her mother tried to abort her and failed and it left her impaired. I have read of real life cases of failed abortions resulting in a child born with a serious disability.
posted by Michele in California at 10:29 AM on September 25, 2014

My Body Politic by Simi Linton
posted by gemutlichkeit at 5:19 PM on September 25, 2014

Dave Hingsburger works in the field of disability and who is himself a wheelchair user and a gay man. His blog, Rolling Around In My Head is a thoughtful series of posts about small interactions and observations from his own daily life and yields really valuable insights on intersectionality, particularly focussed on physical and intellectual disabilities, homophobia, and fatphobia.

Eva Sweeney is a feminist who uses a power wheelchair, and is non-verbal, because she has cerebral palsy. She has a YouTube channel and writes a blog called The Deal With Disability where she deconstructs social interactions. She's also a member of the LGBTQ community, which sometimes figures into her posts (here's an article)

William Peace writes Bad Cripple, a blog about his life with paralysis and thoughts on disability.

Spectra Speaks talks about race and gender and can be breathtakingly incisive.

Awesomely Luvvie is a funny blog, usually about pop culture but sometimes about current events, written by a Black woman.

Racialicious is solid: the intersection of race and pop culture.

Liking Junot Diaz on Facebook is worthwhile, especially if you're interested in race. He posts something worth reading almost every day.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is amazing on race.

And here's an amazing hour-long talk between award-winning authors Zadie Smith and Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, both Black women. You can kind of treat it as a podcast- the visual is fairly static- but the conversation is wonderful. They discuss writing, race, America, Britain, feminism, etc. There's a part in the middle where it will say "lost signal"- if you jump ahead a minute or so it picks up again. Anyway it's wonderful and really makes it obvious how infrequently the media lets us listen in on two Black women speaking with this level of depth, insight, and warmth. Highly recommend.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:23 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

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