Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Was Amy Purdy's Super Bowl XLIX Toyota Ad "Inspiration Porn"?

Amy Purdy

Salon ran a piece decrying the use of disabled people doing normal things to motivate able-bodied people to be more active, or live more fully, or, as the case may be, buy a new Toyota. Catch the ad HERE and read the Salon article HERE

I work with and for many combat-wounded warriors. I do not advocate exploiting the wounded or disabled for commercial gain. So if that is what is meant by the term "inspiration porn," then I am sympathetic to the concerns raised here. 

That said, wounded warriors do appreciate the positive examples of people like Aimee Mullins and Amy Purdy. Wounded warriors have responded positively to military adaptive sports programs, and we have even held Olympic-style games to showcase the resilience and determination of these people who are fighting back to reach a new normal. 

Still, the battle for normalcy includes not just personal struggles, but the struggles of reintegration into society. I do not want inspiration porn. I do not want exploitation or objectification. But I damn sure do want more people to see wounded warriors and other differently-abled people for who they are, not who they were, for what they can do, not what they cannot do, and for what they have, not what they lost. 

(H/T to James.)