I remember the debate back in January and I basically agreed with all that was said (which I why did not feel the need to comment). "Freak shows" exploring HOW disabled people do IT have a negative impact on how disable people are viewed generally, even if the people who participate in e.g. the Channel 4 Documentary mentioned in January consent to participating. They have little impact on how they will be portrayed in the resulting documentary and even if they are happy to be portrayed as "freaks", such portrayal has a negative impact on many more people who would have not chosen to be part of such a documentary.
Encarna Conde’s decision to become a porn-star at age 45 however appears to me to be a completely different matter. She has criticized the porn industry for excluding disabled people, which sends out an implicit message of disabled people being asexual. When they took her criticism into account, but could not recruit a disabled person who was willing to participate, Encarna Conde volunteered herself. That’s what I call commitment!
You are right to be concerned about Encarna being “displayed” as a “freak”, but since neither you nor me have seen the actual porn we both do not know HOW she is portrayed. I therefore continue to assume that a porn-star in a wheelchair could help to promote the message that disabled people are not asexual, that disabled people have sex and that disabled people are sexy. I assumed that the message that is send out by this porn is not to show HOW disabled people have sex, but rather THAT disabled people have sex. But you do have a point when you say that, unfortunately, for some people out there, this may still go down as a “freak show”, rather than inspiring them to revise their stereotypes.
> From: Jenny Parry <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: 2006/06/29 Thu PM 08:44:40 BST
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: sex ...
> Hi Andrea ...
> yes I agree with a lot of what you say, but at the same time the 'disabled
> people as curios' (ref Colin Barnes) keeps leaping to the fore. This is a
> reply I sent to someone on this list back in January on a similar subject :-
> Yes - I agree that the subject of 'disabled sexuality' needs to be
> investigated - sensitively - for the benefit of those it affects - but the
> article by Bev Burkitt illustrates graphically the curiosity felt by
> non-disabled 'others' about how we 'do it'! Bev also points out the need
> for a better
> understanding of the issues, but is a Channel4 TV programme the way to go??
> (http://www.leeds.ac.uk/disability-studies/archiveuk/archframe.htm) )
> although I just tried the link and couldn't make it work.
> Again - the above was relating to a C4 programme, but is a porn show any
> If someone wants to participate in a porn movie then OK yes, and if the fact
> that they are disabled gains them some publicity then that is also a choice
> thing - but in all honesty would you show the disabled people who you work
> with this porn movie as a sex education example? I think not.
> Sex education can be a necessity for many people, not 'just' disabled
> people, but to endorse a woman being involved in porn, and further a disabled woman
> being involved, is not the sort of example I would like to use for anybody,
> disabled or otherwise.
> This harks back somehow to the 'freak show' of old time circuses - not sex
> education, or even a good example .....
> all best
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