Why does the news love paralyzed brides?Jul 22 07:03
As a wheelchair-user myself, I love it when women in wheelchairs get married. Seeing these ladies so happy is awesome. But here’s the deal: Is it really THAT big of a deal if they get married? Why does the news love these stories so much?
We all know weddings make for great heart-warming fluff that the news knows sells. Fluff brings in more viewers, readers, hits. After all, they need to make a profit too. From CNN and ABC News to the New York Daily News and Time, thousands of news outlets have reported on Rachelle Freidman’s story. She was the “paralyzed bachelorette” injured during her bachelorette party last year and had to put her wedding on-hold.
She is a tough cookie and is finally getting hitched tomorrow after having to figure out insurance issues and what not before getting hitched. And then there was the Canadian paralyzed bride, Jennifer Dardon, who earlier this year who got married, and walked down the aisle with leg braces. News coverage like whoa.
The news has been completely and utterly fascinated by Rachelle's story. Is it because its sad? Tragic? Something to pity (which humans sadly are notorious for?). I’ve read the news stories that are out on Rachelle‘s story, and as a wheelchair-user who may very well get married one day, they way some of these articles are written does not sit right with me. They’re a disrespectful “good for you” pat on the back.
They’re calling her “inspiring” for still getting married (clip). They call her spouse “devoted,” because OMG he‘s still following through and marrying her :/ What the hell is this? I know several amazing women in wheelchairs who’ve gotten married in the last 5 years, and not one of them got on CNN for it, nor would they ever want to. Its like being in the news for looking pretty. “Wheelchair girl wear dress and looks attractive.” That’s how this paralyzed bride news tsunami is seeming, at least to me.
Obviously, her initial injury was a heartbreaker. Not actual news, but since she got married so soon after her injury, the news thinks people will remember her, so they put her in. As a journalist myself, I get this. But it’s simply crazy the sheer amount of coverage Rachelle’s quest to get finally get married is getting (have a look here).
Eh…I guess I just hate pity. Haven't we gotten to a point when its no big deal if someone loves us enough to marry us?
Photo courtesy of Emery Co Photo
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1. disabledsportsgirl | Jul 22 10:20
I just WISH we had gotten to a point when it's no big deal if someone wants to marry us. Long before M.D. ever got me into a wheelchair I knew not to expect to get married. Later, I tentatively hoped the worst might not be true. I fell in love. First my boyfriend's father demanded that we break up before my feared imminent death would leave him broken-hearted. Upon meeting me, his mother cried hysterically and begged him not to marry me lest he become a trapped, depressed caregiver. It's 20 years later and we are still together, but not married. My boyfriend has reasons that he will not marry that have nothing to do with my disability. Still, the label of unacceptable or undesirable stigmatizes me. I am the only disabled person in my family and the only unmarried one. So, I applaud the press coverage of these marriages. Get the message out - we ARE worth loving and marrying!
2. Tara | Jul 23 08:09
I've been interested in this story because I wanted to see what kind of wedding dress she was going to wear and I was impressed that she wanted to walk down the isle which is NO easy feat even with leg braces holding on to someone. You have to be really tough and obviously she is.. . How ever I am also a wheelchair user and someday I may be the bride getting married. That is why I am interested but it bothers me why other people are interested like the fiance' is so "special" for still marrying her. He loves her isn't that what love is? You stick by them through thick and thin? What people should be saying is ahhh now that's true love not oh my he's such a "special" guy to still marry his fiance' even after her accident. She is still the same person just sitting down most of the time. Hate the press on this makes it seem like she's soooooooooooo lucky a man would still want her...
3. Savannah | Jul 23 11:33
No. It shouldn't be that big of a deal that women in wheelchairs get married, go to school, work, or go out on the town once in a while. But I feel in a world that is heavily populated by able-bodied people, especially people with no exposure to the disabled, it is going to be a "big deal" that we live, heaven forbid, normal lives. It is just unfortunate that they continually give us this limelight that (I don't know about you guys, but I know) I don't necessarily want. How many times will we have to tell people we just want to live normal? I may turn blue in the face with this request. Guess this woman, as well as the rest of us, will just have to get used to this type of coverage...I don't really have a great answer for what we ought to do! Eat up the attention? :D I sometimes do. I mean, hell, if they are going to give it to us, make the most of it! :)
4. crippieboy | Jul 24 05:32
Everyone knows cripples aren't worthy of love and affection, and we certainly aren't interested in or capable of having sex! Her poor husband will have to take care of her, she can't contribute anything valuable to the relationship. The only positive thing I've seen from this story is the issue of care, and the reality that Medicaid is the only option most have, and how restrictive that is on our lives. As for "walking" down the isle, are you F'ing kidding me? What is the fascination with being upright? She is hobbling down the isle, doing damage to her shoulders in the process in an attempt to look "normal". Suck it up, you are crippled, wheelchairs are the most efficient means of mobility. Ok, somebody put a ramp up so I can get off my soap-box.
5. Syd | Jul 25 03:37
Hate to say it, but if these weren't pretty white girls, they would never be given any coverage at all. Useless fluff stories about weddings are bad enough, but have you ever seen one about anyone OTHER than a pretty, skinny white girl?
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.