Plastic Spoons

At Wiscon 2012 (Wiscon 36), there was a panel discussing the Spoon Theory and whether it was harmful or helpful to people with various kinds of disabilities, plus whether it was an act of appropriation for non-disabled people to use phrases such as, "I'm out of spoons." (And, of course, the discussion inevitably had a small sideline on whether people prefer "disabled" or "handicapped" or other terminology.)

One of the panelists (K) had an interesting take on the issue. Zie brought in a paper bag, which turned out to have tiny single-serving containers of ice cream, frozen rock hard. (Zie had earlier asked the panelists for their preferred flavors.)

Each panelist was given zir cup of ice cream, along with a spoon. However, only one panelist got a metal spoon. The other panelists got plastic spoons. K said that one of the things that sometimes got lost in discussions about the Spoon Theory was that not all spoons are created equal, and for many disabled people, the quality of each spoon is lower than for a TABby person ("temporarily able-bodied", which itself is a term of some controversy).

K noted that the panelist with the metal spoon was having a much easier time with the rock-hard ice cream than the panelists with plastic spoons. Extending the metaphor further, zie said that a metal spoon is not only more capable to begin with, it has a longer lifespan, and it's easily cleaned, ready to be used again. This is part of why TABby people have trouble understanding the limitations of disabled people, because TABby people are used to a much faster recharge cycle.

Note: the above is based on my recollections, I'm sure I have the gist correct, but there are significant differences from the actual words used.


Copyright 2012 by Aahz
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