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

By Michelle Fine; Adrienne Asch | Go to book overview

II: Disabled Women in Relationships

A major contribution of feminist theory of the past decade has been to demonstrate the centrality of relationships in the lives of women. 1 The chapters in this section are organized around the idea of relationships, addressing hitherto unasked questions about how disabled women fare in and experience their relationships. The first two chapters give glimpses into what growing up with a disability means for a young girl in her relationships with her parents. Although there are personal accounts and social science reports of parenting disabled girls and boys, 2 few mention the gender of the children studied and fewer still suggest that the children's gender made a difference. Perhaps disability over- whelmed every other characteristic of the child, either for the parents or for the social scientists. Perhaps parents of children with disabilities, like most parents of non-disabled children, hold many of the same expectations for their preadolescent children regardless of gender. Parents, school, and society generally allow children a wider latitude to develop until the onset of puberty. Virtually all the accounts of parents and of social researchers into the lives of parents and children with disabilities stop before the children reach puberty.

In studies of the mother-daughter relationship, there has not yet been any examination of whether that relationship is altered in character if the daughter has a disability from birth. Integrating psychoanalytic and disability rights perspectives, Adrienne Harris and Dana Wideman here reexamine existing psychoanalytic data and accounts of parent-child relationships to explore the possible meaning of childhood disability for that most significant early attachment. Harilyn Rousso expands our knowledge of the parent-child relationship by looking at how parental expectations influenced their adolescent daughters' social and sexual lives. Working from a small sample of women with disabilities and from interviews with parents of disabled women, she reports that as adults, the daughters regarded parents' expectations as highly significant psychological factors in adolescence.

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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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