Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

lvasko's picture

After today's class and our

After today's class and our conversations on disability and surgery, I found it ironic yet fitting when my friend showed me the link to a particular article this afternoon. It is an article about a 2 year old girl who is undergoing surgery to remove 4 of her 8 limbs. I will attach the link below.

But this article really got me thinking about our conversation in class today and I was struck by how our conversation about disabilities was completely contained within the western context. Not once did we stop to consider that what western cultures consider a "disability", another culture could consider a blessing. Little two year old Lakshmi is a perfect example. Lakshmi, aptly named after the hindu godess of prosperity, is being worshiped as a godess in her hometown. Yes, she is an oddity, but it is a positive oddity rather than a negative. Similarly, if I am not mistaken, in China being born with a sixth digit (6th finger or toe) is considered a sign of good luck and fortune.
Not all "disabilities" are taken negatively. We need to remember that what one culture consideres a disability, another culture may consider a blessing. We should be aware that our conversations about Feminist Disability Studies may certainly fit into the western context but may not apply to other cultural traditions. 
On top of it all, I cannot help but wonder whether the parent's decision to have their child undergo surgery has more to do with their desire for their daughter to live a "normal" life or the desire of enthusiastic doctors eager for experimental and scientifically renowned surgery. Who, if anybody, pushed the decision to 'normalize' Lakshmi?


To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
1 + 0 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.