From Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, who struggls with a disability, reviewing a sci-fi film at Tor:
I Belong Where the People Are: Disability and The Shape of Water
On the surface, there are many things to like about The Shape of Water. The main characters, the ones in the right, they are all outsiders. They are people like me. With the exception of Children of a Lesser God, it is the first time I have ever seen a disabled woman as an object of desire. It is the first time I have seen someone swear in sign in a mainstream film. It is one of the only films out there to address some of my feelings about my body or depict them on screen. Let’s be honest, Children of a Lesser God was made in 1986. That’s 31 years of film history. That’s my entire life.
Over the holidays, I attended a party where a guest told me that disabled people were cast as evil characters because evolutionary psychology says that asymmetrical people aren’t attractive. He said this, while looking into my asymmetrical eyes. He said this without apology. He said this because he believed it, with my husband not two seats away from me staring daggers at him. The thing is, this isn’t the first time this has happened to me. It probably won’t be the last. There’s nobody fighting back, except the disabled people out there who want to be loved.
Give that party guest a Darwinism award!
I wanted to feel included in the human world. Instead, the film reinforced the narrative that I belong below the surface, to be put on display when it suits the narrative. More.
Elsa, you are an inseparable part of the human world! Evolutionary psychology, mmm, not so much. If that whole “discipline” sailed off a cliff tonight, who would notice? I mean, seriously. It seems to exist only to justify the things right reason abhors.
See also: From the Edge: Another reason not to like evolutionary psychology – support for Chinese eugenics
Romantic love “evolved” to prevent infanticide? Can someone please pull the chain on evolutionary psychology?
“The evolutionary psychologist knows why you vote — and shop, and tip at restaurants”
Hat tip: Heather Zeiger