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Serendip Reflections on "Emma, Carrie, Vivian: How a Family Became a Test Case"

smukhtar's picture

This podcast brought into perspective for me how ableism feeds into the surveillence and persecution of women. As we talked a bit about in class on Tuesday, the social reform progressive movement of the early 1900s brought about ways to institutionally construct the ideal body of citizens. This ideal body is built on classist, sexist, and racist foundations, leading to the targeting of diabled people. Through the podcast, it became clear to me how the history of the institutionalization of diabled people is rooted in the pursuit of controlling womens bodies and behaviors. As we can see with the deeply disturbing traumas the Buck women faced, women were targeted without any real evidence or any consent in order to "protect those around them" by ending their chances of furthering their lineage. A lot of this mirrors abortion law battles happening right now, often placing responsibility on women for "sexual promiscuity" that must be controlled. It is disheartening to hear that there were federal regulations allowing for the displacement, sterilization, and manipulation of diabled people, often times the most vurnable minority populations. Its almost as if this process was not soley for diabled people but just for poor people in general, being seen as "pollutants" to a progressive society.