The society considers physical fitness as the ultimate measure of being healthy. This makes people feel out of order and normality once they are hit with a situation that changes their physical figure and fitness for good. Various culture trends have also accelerated the notion that physical handicapped individual are less human being. This is because they are always in need of a help in everything they do (Beekman, 27). Various articles and publications have been written to the awareness of this issue. This essay will explore and put focus on the differences between the society’s views of the ‘crippled’ over generations. The focus will be drawn as per Nancy Mairs’ article entitled ‘On Being a Cripple.’
In the article, Nancy shares her life experiences as a physically challenged woman. However, she does not fell that it is appropriate for people to sympathize with her situation. For this reason, she goes even further to describe herself as a ‘cripple’, suggesting that the word is more appropriate than the other possibilities such as ‘disabled’, ‘handicapped’ among others. Nancy does this in an attempt to show the world and the society that everything is okay despite her physical condition. She wants to create a sense that being crippled does not mean she is inactive or she cannot do any task in her life. Nancy passes a message that she is strong although she accepts the assistance she receives from people around her.
Nancy’s message is a matter of concern that has been received differently over generations. In the old days of 1900s, the society had a general perception that physically challenged people are half humans. This is because they could do very little as opposed to what a complete human being does. Furthermore, they could not do a thing without a help. The society viewed them as delicate and dependent creatures. They are in this world to seek help even for the very basic things and tasks in life. This led to a majority of crippled people being beggars in the streets of ancient town. For example, it was common to find a physical handicapped person begging in major cities, in the US in the 1900s. They were taken to the streets to beg for food, money and everything for their upkeep. To some extent, the family and society saw this tendency as worthy for a living (Saxton et al., 33). Therefore, the crippled were taken to the streets very early in the morning every day to beg for something to be used to feed the able members of the family. Instead of being assisted, the crippled were disadvantaged, oppressed and even used as objects to borrow money for well able fellows and members of their family.
The trend has extremely changed for the better nowadays. Unlike those dull ancient days, the crippled have a chance in the current society. This is because the society today gives each and every individual fair opportunity. The crippled are empowered through education that gives them the opportunity to carry on with life like normal human beings. For example, it is normal to find a physical challenged fellow working in integration with normal people in the office. The society even recognizes them in leadership roles. To express that they are people like any other, among them occupy key organs and structures of decision making in the political arena. In either the west or the Eastern culture, the life of the crippled has been enlightened to a normal life unlike during the earlier days of brutality and discrimination (Saxton et al., 56).
Beekman, E M. The Crippled Heart: An Introduction to the Life, Times, and Works of Willem Godschalck Van Focquenbroch. Leiden: Astrea, 2004. Print.
Saxton, Marsha, and Florence Howe. With Wings: An Anthology of Literature by and About Women with Disabilities. New York: Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 2001. Print.