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Rebecca Rabinowitz
In 2009, when I posted about Susannah Appelbaum's The Hollow Bettle (Book 1 of The Poisons of Caux), I opened with this sentence: "Have you ever heard anyone say that at least the most glaring, barefaced hatred of disability in children's fiction is a thing of the past?" If I wrote it today, I would write, "of disability and disfigurement." I was aware that disfigurement was part of what Appelbaum was grievously misusing and oppressing -- the terrible quotes say it repeatedly -- but I didn't know yet that I should distinguish it from disability.

Disability and disfigurement aren't the same thing, though of course a person can have both. Disability is about what a person can or can't do (or the fact that society says they can't, or doesn't set them accessible paths); disfigurement is about how a person's body appears.

But disfigurement, specifically, is alive and well in children's literature -- often used oppressively by the narrative. It's often a symbol of evil, or a punishment, or something negative, or something meaningful on moral levels, as something for a character to "overcome." It's almost never simply a way that bodies can be. But in real life -- like disability, like fatness, like other embodied aspects that literature uses oppressively -- disfigurement is simply a way that bodies can be. We need to call out oppressive use of disfigurement in children's literature. Notice when it's a symbol. Notice what it's a symbol of. Notice when it's a punishment. Talk about it.

My friend Mike Moody, a disfigurement activist, has coined the word disfiguremisia (dis-fig-u-ruh-mi-sia), meaning "specific erasure & bigotry against Disfigurement." Please use it. She tweets disfigurement analysis and media critique as @guysmiley22 if you're on twitter; recently she's been tweeting about Beauty and the Beast.
Rebecca Rabinowitz
12 January 2017 @ 12:23 am
On language, language changes, and ableism: "New Year’s Resolutions" by Vicky Smith.
Rebecca Rabinowitz
12 January 2017 @ 12:20 am
I'm sorry, I love Kirkus.
Rebecca Rabinowitz
Is the fact that I freak out when I see any type of drone based in my association of drones with war, or in my extensive experience reading dystopic science fiction?
Rebecca Rabinowitz
11 November 2016 @ 02:53 am
"WTF, Crown? Um, where are the f-bombs?" by Kirkus Reviews children's editor Vicky Smith. Get your swears on.
Rebecca Rabinowitz
31 October 2016 @ 08:52 pm
Dear Natalie Babbitt,

You're one of the people who taught me that it would not be better for anyone to be here forever. But I'm sad anyway. Thank you, thank you for your work. I hope you found delicious.