The disabled identity is considered to be defined through suffering due to physical pain and extreme prejudice. Those who identify as disabled are considered to be narcissists because the act of embracing that identity is interpreted to be an embracement of suffering in an attempt to gain emotional and financial sympathy.
Both disabled studies and disabled identities have been criticized as nothing but an exercise in narcissism.
Sigmund Freud set the groundwork in his infamously sexual obsessed way in On Narcissism: An Introduction. In it he explains, “It is universally known, and we take it as a matter of course, that a person who is tormented by organic pain and discomfort gives up his interest in the things of the external world, in so far as they do not concern his suffering. Closer observation teaches us that he also withdraws libidinal interest from his love-objects: so long as he suffers, he ceases to love.”
The idea that associating oneself or one’s studies with disability centers around self-centered suffering is continued to be perpetuated
Queer writer Norah Vincent said disabled studies are a form of “self-righteous goodspeak” and “the newest branch of social theory and its ignominious bedfellow, identity politics”
Feminist academic and social critic Camille Paglia describes it as, “the ultimate self-sanctifying boondoggle for victim-obsessed academic-careerists”
Conservative commentator Walter Olson who believes the ADA has “paralyzed” the US working industry concurs by saying,“You can’t win. Call attention to disability and you’re oppressing them, ignore the disability and you’re making them invisible”
This Nazi mindset is also applied in the training of care and medical providers. A popular and standard exercise is to have students spend a day or more in a wheelchair so they will know what their clients feel like both physically and emotionally.
Despite what inaccurate representation conveys, disabled people do not have the privilege to luxuriate in self-pity. Let me explain it through condition popularly featured in feminist and gender studies, menstruation.
Those who menstruate each month endure physical pain, limited abilities, and discrimination; and like disability the condition and its severity is unique to each person. Those who have never menstruated can simulate the experience by inducing cramping or wearing panty liners but the fatigue and neurological symptoms cannot be replicated, nor can the social stigma.
Menstruation sounds (and literally can be) intolerable but 50% of the population lives with it and the subsequent hormonal conditions between cycles each month. It is just as reasonable for those who menstruate to not be allowed to live as it is for disabled people to not be allowed to live.
Those recently disabled do indeed tend to form an identity through suffering much like a child finding their underwear bloody does, but it’s not realistic long term. Despite shedding of the uterine lining or, even difficulty in walking, people with these conditions have to work, socialize, worship, and a number of other things that define their social identity.
Self-pity is not realistic on the outskirts of society where disabled people live. It’s a popular pastime among NTABs. These people often participate in the Suffering Olympics and as if envying a fish’s ability to swim they are jealous and therefore resentful of disabled people’s automatic gold medal in the suffering.
Disability is a social construct as it is defined through the perception of nondisabled people considering what is adventitious for society overall, that is the difference between disability and menstruation.