Woman Goes Blind... On Purpose?
Hey Pals, there's a story circulating the internet about a woman who went blind on purpose and I want to talk about it. Barcroft TV covered the story of a woman with BIID, which means she was someone who was able bodied and desired to be disabled. In this particular case a woman felt that it was a necessity to go blind. As a sighted person, she identified as a blind person. She took the necessary measures to go blind by willfully having drain cleaner dropped in her eyes.
This would probably be a very devastating and confusing experience to have with your body - to want your body to look or behave in a way that it's not, to identify as blind while being sighted. There is so much to talk about with this one case but I'm just going to start with the language and the ideas around disability. The short documentary starts off by saying that for most people it would be a nightmare to go blind. Wow. Hold up, can we stop reproducing stories about the disabled experience as a "nightmare," or completely unimaginable.
On top of that, the medical community has labelled this mental state as BIID, which is short for Body Integrity Identity Disorder. Labelling this mental state as such literally refers to the disabled body as not a whole body. The disabled body is then spoken of as the unthinkable body, or one that can only be thought of as punishing and thus, having a disability is then spoken of as an objectively undesirable way to live. The language that has been used to take up this story as "tragic" or someone "harming themselves" completely fails to address the fact that disability is desired here.
I think that desiring disability tends to be a difficult concept to grasp for people who have ableist ideas about what makes life worth living. This woman's decision could not have been easy, and it destroyed her relationship with her family, but ultimately she was happy with the decision to go blind. The only part of this story that I find difficult to imagine is the pain and suffering this woman had to go through in order to feel comfortable with her body. She was probably hard pressed to find surgeons to operate on her in a safe environment, so she resorted to what must have been an excruciating method.
Moreover, our culture has difficulty finding value in disability, so the social stigma regarding BIID is still prevalent. This is something that needs more awareness and it should be discussed because we should have compassion for others, even if we can't personally relate to their struggles. As always, thank you for listening and joining in the conversation below. If you're new here, hi, my name is Rachel Anne and you can catch me on periscope at hotpinksun.
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