This post is to add my voice to the many disabled people protesting the film “Me Before You”, and the unsatisfactory responses of the actors of the film, and the writer of the book (the film is based on a book)
First, I ask you to read this review. It tells you all you need to know about the film, and why we protest it. I will just quote one sentence here but the whole article is brilliant.
“Live into your disability.” (Richard Propes)
One of the people involved with the film said that the story was only one case, that it was unfair that protesters were calling the film a “snuff movie”, a movie that makes disability worse than death, and that we should walk in people’s shoes.
So, the film defenders want us, disabled people to walk in disabled people’s shoes.
Not really. We are supposed to walk on disabled-people-who-want-to-die shoes. Our own shoes, the shoes of disabled people who do #LiveBoldly, who are proud, who fight against ableism, those shoes will not serve the film’s purpose of cheap tears at the expense of our right to live disabled.
The “walk in people’s shoes” is an end-of-conversation phrase very well known to disabled activists. It is used by non-disabled people to justify silencing, dismissal, abuse and even murder of disabled people. It is very convenient to ignore that we have shoes too. Instead of trying to walk in our shoes, some people prefer to throw them out, while we are wearing them.
The perception that being disabled is the worst thing that can happen to a person is not new, but it is a wrong assumption.
If you need a lot of help, you are expected to feel shame.
If you need a lot of help, you are expected to feel like a burden to others.
If you need a lot of help, you are expected to devalue your needs and see them as nuisances.
If you need a lot of help, you are expected to have no expectations of a fulfilling life.
If you need a lot of help, you are expected to want to be out of the way.
I need a lot of help and I reject these non-disabled ableist expectations.
I need a lot of help and I #LiveBoldly.
I am not a quadriplegic like the character in the film, even if I sometimes need a wheelchair. I have cerebral palsy, and I am Autistic and epileptic, with intractable seizures. I am not in a romantic relationship but I do have a best friend who is also my caregiver/assistant and in our relationship there is no #MeBeforeYou. My quality of life is defined by what I can do – with help, not by ableist assumptions. My friend’s quality of life would not improve if I died because her life would not have me in it. We are both active participants in our lives together. We #LiveBoldly and because I am not a passive presence in my own life, I lead the “Boldly” part, and she supports me.
In my disabled life, the theme is – Me With You.
Some great posts (there are many more) by other disabled people, and one by a partner of a disabled person who also #LiveBoldly with her: