It can, on occasion, be very instructive to see how those of us with disabilities get viewed in the media. To wit: Episode 3.10 of Glee.
And here’s a little image to give you some spoiler space:
I must first note there’s stuff that Glee gets dead-on right. Kurt and his dad, for one. And then there is the whole disability issue. At which they suck like an open chest wound.
Leaving aside the “Let’s set up the crips on a date” business (which is it’s own manner of cringy), I’m furious at Will. Not just annoyed or put out. Downright furious.
I’ve been Emma. I’ve given that speech about not being perfect, and being the misfit toy, and having good and bad days. I can fucking quote that verbatim. It’s hard and raw and honest. And hurts like little else every time.
I got lucky. I got Himself who, for as hard as it can be to live with (and love) a Misfit Toy, has been there for me every step of the way. When I am crying at 3 am because I can’t sleep. When I had to decide to get fixed because I could not face the possibility of passing along my crappy DNA.
Will, OTOH, got All The Things Wrong. Don’t tell me I have (am) a disease. I know that. Don’t be a chickenshit about “whether or not I can handle it.” I’ve handled “it” far longer than you have, son. If you cannot accept that there might be more to me than a misfit toy, just keep walking and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. Don’t try to “rescue” me. Help me. Be there for me. But don’t white-knight me.
For as much as I HATE being told I am “brave,” I will say this: Emma was just that in a way Will won’t ever understand. She knows she’s not perfect. Yet she works so hard to be the best Emma she can. Yet Will took away her agency to say “Yes, I know this will be hard, but I want to try to have it, OK?” and essentially made his issue with her disability into her issue.
And Will? Saw her as one of those broken misfit toys. Which hurts worse than that Speech. Every time.