Warning! This post will contain spoilers about the show Centaurworld.
I’ve been watching through Centaurworld and I just saw an episode that gave me a thought. A thought that is actually somewhat relevant to my blog, so it’s post time!
We don’t really need to get into the nitty-gritty of the show and what it’s about for this post. So basically, our heroine, Horse, has been having adventures in Centaurworld. The adventures involve fear and trauma and struggle and victory and success and all that stuff. Basically, stuff that is a BIG DEAL for her and her friends.
Anyway. So in this one episode she goes and meets the bird-taurs. And the bird-taurs are INFURIATING. I HATED them. SO. MUCH. Seriously, they gave me such an unspeakable rage!
Basically, it turns out the bird-taurs have been watching Horse and her adventures. They love Horse! They love the adventures! It’s so entertaining!
Yes, entertaining. They treat it as content. For them to consume and judge and comment on. The REALNESS of it is just… absent for them. Horse is over there trying to talk to them about serious things she is seriously dealing with and seriously needs help with, but to them it’s all just content. Entertainment. A show.
After the episode, I spent a little time thinking about just how angry I got over those bird-taurs. Then I realized something. What they were doing reminds me of inspiration porn and the way abled people consume inspiration porn. (I don’t want to get into it here, so if you want to read more about what inspiration porn is and why it’s bad, here is a post I found about it.)
In inspiration porn, the very real lives and struggles of disabled people are reduced to content for abled people to consume. To have FEELINGS about. And, yes, to judge. The actual lives of the disabled people in the images used for inspiration porn are not relevant. Their personhood is not relevant. The harm that inspiration porn does to disabled people is not relevant.
Which reminds me of a conversation I once had online. Basically, me and some other people with disabilities were trying to explain to abled people why we don’t like inspiration porn. The abled people were…. not really getting it. Eventually, we seemed to get to the core issue – one abled person finally just said (essentially) “yes, but inspiration porn makes us feel good! Can’t we just have this? Can’t we just have something that feels good?”
So I responded (again, essentially) “The thing we have been trying to tell you is that inspiration porn harms us. Please do not prioritize your fuzzy feelings over our actual well-being.”
The person never responded so the conversation ended there. I have no idea if what we were trying to say ever sank in. But think of it – this person was talking directly to people with disabilities, trying to explain how inspiration porn hurts us. Yet somehow, the very Realness of the people in those images and their lives never even seemed to occur to them. It was never anything more than fuzzy feelings.
Which is exactly how the bird-taurs were acting.
Which certainly helps explain why I found them so utterly infuriating! Luckily, we were supposed to find them infuriating, so my feelings of rage were totally appropriate, if disproportionate.
I’m really glad no one has ever made inspiration porn from an image of me. I can only imagine how much that would suck.