How do you live in a world with no blind princesses?

Dear readers,

I recently tried to answer a question for a podcast done by a blind dude who specializes in blindness specific things. One of his questions had to do with coverage in the media, and I also included Hollywood coverage. Let me tell you how lackluster at best the coverage is, and it affects not only blind women like me, but if I want to create a fan fiction story, I have to do it right. And there are no blind characters to work with in most of the hot button media series thingies. Here’s what we have to work with.

As a young girl, I grew up with Disney. How well has Disney represented disabled characters in the media? I’d give Disney an F for unfair representation of blind and disabled characters. Disabled characters in literature and movies and such are usually saints, poor beggars, or those who are cured, and examples are few and far between. There is only one blind woman who I would hold up as one who opposes being helpless. Anyone heard of Susan Oldknow? Um, maybe you haven’t, but she is in the Treasure of Green Knowe series, actually the title of the book is Treasure of Green Knowe. In this book, Spoiler alert, Susan becomes heiress to Green Knowe and she ends up overcoming loads of obstacles to get there. Among which, she has to contend with a nanny who’s completely out of her mind, a grandmother who believes Susan is an idiot, and the only friend in her family is her father, a sea captain who wants her educated like her mother and all the ladies before, and this is before the invention of Braille. But the worst thing that occurs usually in a family like this is the son gets spoiled, and Susan’s brother Sefton is no exception. He acts racist toward Susan’s companion, Jacob, who, spoiler alert, is a freed African slave the captain purchased, and yes, the boy was free in England with the captain’s family. The Captain is usually a guy who you would find away on sailing missions, so no surprise that Sefton hates his sister and wants to disparrage her companion.

What’s really sad about the blind issue in the media and coverage in television news stories and other things is this: all the blind are considered helpless, and because the NFB and other consumer orgs want better representation, there is a darker side to finding such representation. When I wrote that I needed help determining what to do with evacuation strategies for my apartment, I personally don’t feel safe here much because of the creepers here, I got nasty backlash comments from trolls who were, oddly enough, blind themselves. The blindness is not the reason I ask for help, beg to get guidance in housing situations, and so on and so forth.

What I do does not represent Hollywood or blind people in general, but I have indeed tried to hold up the community, but they seem to be tearing me down instead of lifting me up, and even local chorus people don’t seem to get it. They want to sit there and tear me down, forget I exist, or try to avoid me. I hate avoidance behavior, but I think the biggest reason we have avoidant individuals around us as blind people is because of that stupid television show, In the Dark, and the NFB’s complaints about that show are numerous. For one, the blind main character was played by a sighted actor. Ugh. This is ableist. It’s the same thing as asking Caucasian people to play Japanese characters in anime, and it’s disgusting.

As a blind girl, there are no blind princesses Disney has to offer. Tiana is the closest to getting there Disney has done with princess representation in the media. However, there is still a long way to go. Disney has yet to put a disabled actress as a princess in a movie, and to make a disabled princess be the center of the story. Because of Disney’s lack of disability positive representation, I’m considering writing Disney a heartfelt note saying that a princess with confidence and a disability would really help the community see things the way I see them. And we need a princess who can lift others up, not have to be able to see and don’t count Ariel’s temporary disability because her voice is essential to her story. ursula, the evil witch in the Little Mermaid movie Disney so violently corrupted, did take Ariel’s voice, but was killed by Eric and so on if memory serves me right. The original Hans Christian Andersen story doesn’t do much justice either. The mermaid has to, spoiler alert, kill her lover or become a child of the air, which is hardly what Disney wants. Disney’s interests aren’t the interests of the disabled community, and the more I see new princess movies come out, the more left out fellow princess lovers and Disnerds who are blind are going to feel.

When you get a little older, superheroes and more adult films are the norm. I still watch princess movies, but what will I be able to do other than write up a fairy tale that explains my life in a child’s point of view/ Nothing explains things I went through that way at all. In adult film and TV series, we have few and rare blind characters that exhibit any form of confidence or enough courage and strength to tell a blind adult or young teen, “You can be who you want to be.” If Disney wanted to do this sort of thing, maybe they should make a movie about a blind woman, not Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder, but a woman who is blind because women who are blind are poorly represented in television sitcoms, movies, and the like. No blind woman should be portrayed as a sexual object to be married off, or worse, a fear based thing you don’t want to become. As a blind woman, how can anyone be so confident in themselves as females if they see a blind woman not succeeding in making some extraordinary changes in the world? I want to change the world so it is safe for girls and women who are blind in all parts of the world to live their lives, no guardianship for girls and women, including all the remote parts of the world who seek to oppose or kill me. Honestly, I’m seriously trying to do this right, but I’m stuck on social media because of transport that’s so crappy here in my end of town. Think about it. Activists can be activists online, and I’m one who can say I’m an online activist for change, and I don’t see such activism covered in the news.

what bothers me most about the lack of Hollywood representation of people who are blind is how feared the blindness is. In classic movies, you don’t see confident blind actors and so on. Even modern movies and shows have no blind characters. It seems Arthur from PBS does, but that’s meant for educational purposes only. Sesame Street is a kid program, but we need to get the word out that blind kids and adults alike need positive role models in the media, in sitcoms, in Netflix and other streaming platform shows, and not the Healing Powers of Dude. Poor representation of disabled people and jokes about us are all over the media, and those have to go.

Luckily, I did do a good initial review of See, a show about blind characters, but why is Jason Momoa, a sighted actor, playing the blind warrior? I hope there are blind thesbians willing to speak out. At least we’re on the way to doing better, but hardly are we any closer than we should have been long ago. In 1990, Disney could have published stuff about not so helpless people with disabilities, but it’s taking them way too long. Other hollywood companies like Dreamworks, Warner Brothers, and so many others could benefit from putting blind people on TV and in movies outside an educational purpose only.

Beth

Covid, Vaccines, and Why Science Works

Dear readers,

Please read if you really care about other people. So here goes.

Covid is a bad virus, and it kills. I have a buddy who lost both her parents to Covid 19, and it sucks. For her, she will never have Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings for her children at the parents’ house again. Both parents being gone, her young daughters will have to cope with the loss of Grandpa and Grandma.

When I got the vaccine, I felt freer. Of course, I understand where some people are coming from. However, you should try and get the vaccine because you don’t want your parents and grandparents to die of a needless pandemic. If you have an elderly relative in a nursing home, please do me a favor and get the vaccine. Phiser has an FDA approved vaccine, and I got it before the FDA said anything, but i’m ready to wait for a booster shot. Know why we need boosters? Because of the Delta variant. My partner is so precious to me, I told him he’s getting the booster shot. I said he would die if he caught Delta. Our caregiver is amazing, but we don’t get enough time with her. We have two cartons of eggs in our fridge, and she hasn’t used them yet. She’s unvaccinated, and I hope not a victim of delta. But it’s only a matter of time, and strange clients, that she could catch covid. We’ve got lots of other reasons to get the vaccine, including I want to be able to go places, and do things, and go to concerts. Garth Brooks has canceled all five of his remaining shows. Is that fair? Covid is the top reason venues are actively canceling concerts. If you want concerts, get the vaccine. It’s the only way you can stay out of the ICU beds that are needed for other care. I have a buddy with cancer who needs treatment, but covid really messed everything up for her. Please consider she needs a place to go for treatment.

Another Christian school in Colorado … Valor Is Not Valor so Shut it Down

Dear readers,

I’d like to let you all know there is a disturbing trend going on in Christian and Catholic schools. A pair of teachers at a Colorado school called Valor Christian were asked to resign, and it was due to their being in relationships that went against the so called teachings at this school. Many LGBTQI+ students get disrespected and discriminated against, called the child’s assigned gender pronouns at birth, not the ones they express and identify as. This school must understand that they’re not alone.

There is more than one incident where a school banned the rainbow symbol, tried to be the God and Gender police, and their strict uniform dress codes scream, “Rape culture.” St. Teresa’s School could become one of many Christian and Catholic schools not affirming the lives of transgender students, gay students, and many more. The students who demonstrated outside Valor Christian, as I will say, have my blessing. You don’t even need the blessing of any particular person to know that Christian schools are abusing your tax dollars to abuse gay students. The father god complex that one woman historian talks about in her book Who Cooked the Last Supper is so present that it has the gall to abuse anyone who doesn’t worship this so called God the Father.

As a Christian school alum, I want to condemn and deplore all Christian private schools who abuse gay kids. IF you don’t call my child my daugher, not biological son, I will do what is necessary to shut down your school. IF you don’t respect my daughter’s or son’s or my child’s homosexual or gender fluid relationships, I will shut down the school. The bigotry and my buck stops here.

Beth

You Don’t Want to See This In Your Mailbox …

Dear readers,

Author’s Note: Before I begin, I just want you guys to know who I’m writing to, but I will not put the customary Beth Taurasi or anything below the Sincerely line of the following prose. Why, you ask. Well, let’s get this out here. I hope you Harry Potter fans are ready for this dark satire of the sad and tragic life of Dudley Dursley, the spoiled rotten idiot son of Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon. Petunia and Vernon should be familiar to you HP fans out there. Dudley at the time of this letter is a junior at Smeltings Private School, and I thought we’d have a little fun throwing Dudley under the proverbial bus. After using his little cousin Harry, the noble and most awesome Wizard of the House of Potter, and beating up thousands perhaps, maybe all of the children of Little Winging, I want to make something clear. He should have been expelled and transferred to St. Brutus’s himself. So, below this line, here comes the letter that if you are Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, you don’t want to see in your mailbox. …

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Dursley,

As Headmaster of Smeltings Private School, it is my job to educate hungry young minds. It is also our job to keep the young men and women who attend this private school safe. As your headmaster, I have noticed thousands of instances where your son, Dudley Dursley, has been bullying younger children. Just because he is the Junior Inter-School Boxing Champion, that doesn’t give him license to practically knock unconscious any student that he doesn’t like. His marks are atrocious, I’ll say that right now. And even with a year’s worth of hard dieting, thank you both for trying to follow the diet sheet the nurse sent him home with the year before, or more, he is still not up to snuff weight wise. HE certainly has grown stronger, but he’s been under investigation for bullying so many times, so many in fact that I have to break the news to you all. We’re going to expel him permanently from Smeltings Private School.

The investigations we’ve been performing, as the board of trustees tells me, involve Dudley doing a number of bad and otherwise criminal things. These things include but are not limited to bullying, rape, battery of all sorts, robbery and kidnapping. The crown Prosecution will have Dudley for breakfast. To prevent further instances of bullying, we have also expelled all of the gang members that have been following him around like disciples of Jesus. These followers include Piers Pulkiss. We’re sorry we have to do this, but again, the Crown Prosecution will have these boys for breakfast. The last straw was an incident where Dudley and his gang beat up a twelve-year-old girl on a park bench out in the garden near the school’s baseball field. the girl will be testifying against Dudley Dursley, who at this pointn the Crown has chosen to charge him with bullying at school, assault, sexual battery, simple battery, and a whole host of other charges. No, he can’t get out of this one.

The twelve-year-old Jane Doh will not give her name, so please refrain from contacting her. I along with the Board of trustees at Smeltings and the Crown Prosecution will recommend that Dudley not ever contact any of his friends, Piers, Malcom, Gordon, and others who have been following him around. None of these boys will be allowed to associate with one another. As this is very hard on all of us involved, we want to tell you that you must teach Dudley to hold himself accountable for all bullying and battery incidents, including that of Jane Doh, age 12, and other incidents we’ve recorded in our school files. Dudley Dursley will be removed from the boxing squad, so please return his uniform.

We regrettably cannot refund you and your family for sending your son here only to be expelled. Please drop off all school uniform clothing at the back of the school, and go immediately to my office. There will be paperwork to sign, seal, and deliver. Regrettably, we cannot reverse this decision because the Crown Prosecution has spoken. Britain’s schools should never tolerate this type of behavior, and we do not have any words to say to mitigate what Dudley has done.

Sincerely,

Your Smeltings board of Trustees,

Your Smeltings Headmaster,

and the Smeltings staff

Asking for Help is Not a Crime: Addressing Independence Police On Social Media

Dear readers,

For season 4 of my podcast, I’m going to address a problem that keeps happening every time I ask for a simple favor. I get bullied. There are two people responsible for bullying on a post I created so that only local people were supposed to comment, but unfortunately, a blind keyboard warrior from Florida and a dude who lives too far away in Grand Junction in my backyard commented rudely and rather in a nasty way about my capacity to help and do things for myself. This is not the way to respond to posts asking for help, and I get terrible comments about this stuff all the time. Antibullying programs in school apparently haven’t been enough to teach these people not to bully, and their kids will likely be bullies too because of their bad modeling behavior. There is a really big problem with the woman who sent me the comments, saying, “I’m going to be perfectly honest, but …” She went in and said I was not capable of doing anything at all, and truthfully, that’s not the case. It’s lies like the ones told by the woman who sent me that comment that could get me guardianized again. Britney Spears is already under investigation for striking someone, but guess what? That employee probably did or said something to provoke it. Britney is under a lot of stress from an abusive conservatorship, and I was under such from an abusive prison called a guardianship.

As for my capacity not to do things for myself, I warn you all. Do not write lies and tell lies about my capacity to anyone at all, I don’t care if it’s your social worker or my social worker, my colleagues in DWC or a colleague at work. Do not tell anyone or mention my name about every time I am incapable or something. The terrible comments must stop, I have warned you all. Thankfully, the comments here on WordPress are not allowed to happen because of people like the Florida woman and the Colorado man. These people are trying to get me down, but I warn you all, if you so much as whisper comments about my incapacity which isn’t true at all to people such as a colleague at work, my caseworker, social workers in your state, or anywhere else, I will hear about it. And I won’t go with a professional guardian because I have no money. I want to be able to see friends and my partner, and my in laws. My mother in law is already having tough times, and her adoptive mother and my grandfather are both diagnosed with dementia. It is hard to watch the dementia symptoms progress with those two people, my grandfather being the man who used to read spy novels, make pancakes, and ride his Harley Davidson around Lake Mary or Pensacola. My papa is going to die with the knowledge that he was loved and supported, but the lies about me continue. So who are the bullies so vehemently against me? One of them I was on Messenger audio with, just talking and we just talked like old friends. I can’t believe this guy would do something stupid like this.

There were a few friends who left me nice comments. I want to thank the following people who actually make me believe that humanity is good: first, my buddy Megan who lives not far from my backyard. Next, my buddy Marinela who is the nerdieset chic on Earth and in the whole universe and she’s always going to convention stuff and I absolutely adore her makeup. Even if I can’t wear makeup, not that I wouldn’t wear it, I look better without it anyway. Nothing too personal, but I don’t like makeup and I’m not a good makeup artist. But I swear Marinela’s makeup pallets are interesting, and I wish I had the vision to do makeup like she does, but I’m fine with a professional makeup artist doing my makeup if I absolutely must do it for the stage. Thank you though, Marinela, for being cool. Then there’s Kelly, who lives in Texas, who is the most amazing person I’ve met so far. Kelly is so empathetic to people, and I can’t tell you how many times she’s told me something real. Then there’s Clayton, and by the way, it will be Clayton’s birthday on Saturday. I want my readers to know that this birthday boy knows a few nooks and crannies in the world that I may never have thought of. It’s a struggle, he says, to get help as a blind person because the sighted don’t want us to exist. Sadly, he’s correct on that for some reasons. They include that blindness is feared, as Rosemary Mahoney wrote in one article I read of hers. Examples of feared blindness include when a boy or girl is born blind in places like Africa or Tibet, the family may lose their land and their child would have to die. There was a father in Mexico who tried to make his blind son die via a Roman Catholic mass. This is how much parents, adults in general, and some kids, fear blindness. What I fear most is not blindness itself. I’m sitting here at my desk, typing this blog on a macintosh intel computer, and I’m capable of expressing my thoughts, so what the hell these people did was really stupid. Any unfriending and so on will have to be done with my permission. In fact, it can’t happen because now I have to cope with the nasty comments the bullies left me on Facebook and other social media accounts. There are many teens who aren’t disabled who commit suicide because of commentary that is deeply hurtful. I cried of course, but that’s inevitable. I have a few things I want everybody on social media to do. And it has nothing to do with killing somebody, making things unsafe, or anything at all. But it has to do with empathy, and the empathy has to be built.

  1. First and foremost, say your comments out loud before you attempt to write them down. This coming from my buddy Christine, from Pennsylvania, and it might help in some ways. If the words come out nasty, do not put them down on paper. Think about these comments and their tone, and would you say this to a best friend? Your grandmother? If not, do not write them down.
  2. Go to someone you don’t normally want to work with. This is something I would recommend you do with DVR or a workplace. Offer to buy that person who is always being sexually harassed or bullied a cup of coffee, a can of pop, whatever they ask for. Sit down and talk to that person, ask them how they’re doing, and watch what they say. When I am asked how my day is, sometimes I will say, good. Or if it’s super crappy, I’ll admit it. Listen carefully to the tone of the person’s response, and dig a little deeper. This is a serious thing that could lead to you possibly making friends, or even helping a person in need.
  3. For those who are straight conservatives, I have a dare for you. If you’re a guy, dress up like a drag queen. Get the best costume you can get, and wear it to work. Or if you’re really not in the mood, wear a shirt that presents a liberal cause, example might be something that supports gay and lesbian and transgender people. Also, if you are someone who knows someone with cancer, do the following.
  4. If you know a friend or colleague at work who has had their hair fall off because of cancer, shave your damn head. I would do it if someone I knew had cancer. Trust me. If I found out my dad was bald, well, it would be one of two things: male pattern baldness or cancer. Male pattern baldness is not a shameful thing, and women who lose their hair to anything should never be shamed for it. So if you know a colleague at work, a friend, or family member who has cancer, allopesia or anything else, just shave your head or if you can’t shave your head, the wig comes off and you show your skin.

These things are all great empathy building tools for adults, but here are some that kids can do. Most of the things also apply to adults.

  1. If your parents are acting strangely on FB, ask them why. But log in your brain that this behavior is bad, unacceptable, and wrong. When you’re at school, watch the playground. Who gets bullied the most? Watch your social media accounts for cyberbullying.
  2. If you or a friend is being bullied, tell a teacher or grown up person, otherwise known as a family friend or adult you can trust, about it. Tell the principal if you have to.
  3. IF you have to, work with law enforcement to get the bullies off your tail. Just make sure you gather the screenshots, evidence, documents, etc. Parents, make sure you have something such as Net Nanny Social, or some other monitoring software and let your child know what’s up. All evidence of cyber bullying should be reported to your child’s school or principal.

Thank you for reading. I will have to address this problem in the podcast if anyone even so much as tries to incapacitate me in comments again.

Beth

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