Monday, February 14, 2005

be MY valentine

With all the pressing priorities that disabilities activist, as well as people with disabilities in general, have to work on and strive for, this topic may seem trite or even a little overblown, but what the heck I never was one to be a perfect follower of the rules, and I can't color within or outside the lines anyway. So here it goes.

It dawned on me over the weekend that with the commercialization of Valentine's Day in all forms of media promotion I saw not one image of a person, not only having a disability, but a person man or woman with any type of difference in appearance. So just this example of this one holiday if taking to its logical conclusion means that we are all only deserving of trinkets, bobbles, and words of true love if we fit the Hallmark or other commercial marketing images. Maybe my petticoat of cynicism towards Valentine's Day is showing and many people might just shrug it off as sour grapes, and maybe quite frankly there is some of that, but I sincerely believe that there is also a more insidious issue at hand. The marketing strategy reflects public sentiment as well as influences public sentiment. So if we never see people on greeting cards or on commercials that intimate that a person is only deserving of the recognition, care, and love that a holiday like Valentine's Day communicates, then we will always remain, shall I say, naive in "matters of the heart."

I spent this weekend perusing the different companies that carry e-cards, not one had a gorgeous overweight woman or man, or even an average looking overweight person; and as for a person with disabilities well that would be completely off the commercial radar screen as far as greeting cards. So my question is if my significant other were to buy me a valentine would he have to compromise and buy one that reflected the ablest fantasy, or would he have to select one with a generic picture of a box of chocolate candy ( I don't really like candy), or a bouquet of roses ( I am allergic to flowers), so what is the poor guy to do? Well worry not all my supporters who read this post. He doesn't believe in Valentine's Day because of the capitalistic propaganda that it infiltrates into everyone's fragile least that's what he tells me.

All kidding aside, yes it is important and even imperative to fight for transportation, decent housing, equal job opportunities, personal assistance, etc. But let us advocates and activists take a moment here or there to fight for the little ordinary pleasures of life, why? Well to begin with, so someday women and men with disabilities or other human differences could have their images accurately and attractively displayed in a card section of your local drugstore. Hope that happens before I'm too old to repay the giver with a passionate kiss!

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