Last month, a 26-year-old woman known only on her site as Eva began posting video blogs about the way people treat her. Her reactions are displayed in the writing that accompanies the videos, there is barely any dialogue to the videos and rarely is Eva herself shown in them. Eva has Cerebral Palsy, she cannot speak and she gets around in a power wheelchair. Mounted to her wheelchair is a video camera, which she says is always recording, that captures some rather disappointing interactions that she has with people who either ignore her entirely or patronize her to the point of frustration. While her reactions are not always evident in the videos themselves, the paragraphs she writes get her point across loud and clear.
On “The Deal With Disability”, Eva’s interactions are usually convoluted with people who simply do not know how to deal with her. In one, she is mistaken for a male child. In others, she is ignored entirely. Most of her “interactions” are based around her observing conversations between who she is trying to interact with and her aide, who people seem to engage with because they can have a conversation with her. Her frustrations are conveyed, as I mentioned, in her writing. Never short on humor and always intelligent and heartfelt, Eva says, “There is rarely a normal encounter. By normal I mean just your standard ‘Oh, excuse me’ or ‘Hi, how are you?’ or even, ‘Would you like milk in your coffee?’” Her blog serves to educate the rest of us through the ignorance of others.
For example, this little gem from Starbucks:
Another facet of Eva’s life is the fact that she identifies as queer. Having recently received a BA in gender studies from Occidental College, Eva travels around and lectures on gender and disability issues. The prejudice she receives, then, being called “mister” or served a dose of near baby-talk, is harmful to her many-fold. In turn, with her unique form of activism, that makes her ultimate message pretty universal to all marginalized groups of society: “…if people treated me like everyone else they might realize that I am indeed just like everyone else”. Like I said, loud and clear.