Women with Disabilities: Essays in Psychology, Culture, and Politics

By Michelle Fine; Adrienne Asch | Go to book overview

Several recent books join an extensive literature attesting to the preciousness of friendships among women, regardless of their attachments to men. 3 Just as disability has not been considered in feminist analysis, talk of friendship has been absent from most discussions of the lives of women or men with disabilities. Perhaps this latter omission derives from a research focus on the effect of disability on the lives of non-disabled people, rather than on the lives of disabled people themselves. Redressing this gap in feminist and disability scholarship, Berenice Fisher and Roberta Galler reflect on their own thirty-year friendship and on other pairs of disabled and non-disabled friends to discover the impact of disability on the relationship. This chapter demonstrates that disability in friendship only highlights and dramatizes issues that beset all important personal relationships -- issues of interdependence, reciprocity, discrimination in the world, and real differences in life circumstances as obstacles to be overcome.

Addressing the expectations of the community, Marilynn Phillips presents a case study of how one woman's experience of a polio-related disability was shaped by her working-class and Polish-Catholic origins. Like the nuclear family, the ethnic community can exert powerful influences on the development of social and sexual self-confidence. Phillips' subject vividly recalls her attempts to reconcile her self-image with the values of the people among whom she lives.

There is woefully little information on the role of'intimate couple relationships in the lives of disabled women. 4 We acknowledge that this volume does not sufficiently address the omission, but we predict that this reticence will not continue much longer. As more disabled people reveal more about their lives (and they are beginning to do so), they will address the conflicts and rewards of building intimate partnerships. This section concludes with a study by Barbara Levy Simon of women who have never been married and who have a disability. Simon writes of disability in women more than 65 years old, a period in life when physical limitation is nearly a majority experience. Disability, she notes, draws these never-married women away from the margins; once estranged from other women because of their single status in a coupled world, they now share a powerful connection with other women in their age group.


Notes
1.
Three feminist classics advancing significant views about relationships for women are J. B. Miller, Toward a New Psychology of Women ( Boston: Beacon, 1976); N. J. Chodorow, The Reproduction of Mothering ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978); C. Gilligan, In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development ( Boston: Harvard University Press, 1982).

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Women with Disabilities: Essays in Psychology, Culture, and Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface and Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction: Beyond Pedestals 1
  • Notes 31
  • References 32
  • I: Bodies and Images 39
  • Notes 40
  • 1. on Embodiment: A Case Study of Congenital LImb Deficiency in American Culture 41
  • Notes 68
  • References 70
  • 2.Sex Roles and Culture: Social and Personal Reactions to Breast Cancer 72
  • Notes 85
  • 3. in Search of A Heroine: Images of Women with Disabilities in Fiction and Drama 90
  • References 110
  • Ii: Disabled Women in Relationships 111
  • Notes 112
  • 4. the Construction of Gender and Disability in Early Attachment 115
  • References 136
  • 5. Daughters with Disabilities: Defective Women Or Minority Women? 139
  • References 170
  • 6. Friendship and Fairness: How Disability Affects Friendship Between Women 172
  • Notes 192
  • References 192
  • 7. Disability and Ethnicity in Conflict: A Study in Transformation 195
  • Notes 213
  • 8. Never-Married Old Women and Disability: A Majority Experience 215
  • Note 224
  • References 224
  • Iii:Policy and Politics 227
  • 9. Women, Work, and Disability: Opportunities and Challenges 229
  • References 243
  • 10. Disabled Women and Public Policies for Income Support 245
  • References 267
  • 11. Autonomy as A Different Voice: Women, Disabilities, and Decisions 269
  • Notes 292
  • 12. Shared Dreams: A Left Perspective on Disability Rights and Reproductive Rights 297
  • Notes 305
  • 13. Smashing ICons: Disabled Women and the Disability and Women's Movements 306
  • Notes 329
  • References 331
  • Epilogue: Research and Politics to Come 333
  • Notes 336
  • About the Contributors and Index 337
  • About the Contributors 339
  • Index 343
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