A Bad Dream

Disability in Film


Disability is a social construct with a cultural origin. Bodies are recognized in relation to a set of expectations, arrived at by the wholesale assumption of ableist values. Absence of ability, based on an entrenched ideal of the body and its functions, segregate the defective from the effective members of society. Effective members exist in contention with and in rejection of defective members.

Through cultural representations, bodies defined as defective are rendered invisible in terms of their sexuality, unless they are presented in order to symbolize a perverse discrepancy. This essay aims to illustrate the denial of both the desires and needs of individuals with disabilities and their right to opportunities for sexual expression. Through an examination of films involving disability and sexuality, this essay will underscore the misguided representations of people living with disabilities as having limited lifestyles. The films chosen aim to expose the entrenched views of normalcy that have empowered the dehumanizing gaze of an able-bodied audience, toward a disabled minority, both in the past and present.

As disabled bodies play a major role in defining what society deems the norm, understanding the social construct of disability is crucial in understanding how able-bodied performance comes to be perceived as natural. Following a discussion of the historical perspectives of disability, the essay will explore the representation of disability in Freaks (1932), Boxing Helena (1993), and As Good As It Gets (1997). After examining the implications of dominant cultural representations, the essay will conclude with a shift toward the visibility of disabled sexuality through an examination of alternative bodily ideals. In examining The Sessions (2012), this portion of the essay will identify a recent shift in the representation of disability and sexuality in traditional media portrayals.

It is essential to perceive the coding of bodies and the importance attached to their selective functions or dysfunctions as part of a much larger system of meanings in society.[1] In the aftermath of WWI, society began to function through consumer culture, which promotes what Chris Shilling describes as the ‘performing self.’ Shilling argues consumer culture treats the body as a machine to be “finely tuned, cared for, reconstructed and carefully presented.”[2] As Michel Foucault theorizes, the body is a useful force only if it is both productive and subjective.[3] Women and men living with disabilities do not necessarily adhere to the ideals of the ‘performing self’. By attributing disorder to the emergence of the ‘abnormal individual’, Foucault positions disability as a threat to social integrity.[4]

During a time where child bearing was essential to consumer culture, those embodying disability assumed the characteristic of a sexual perversion because society saw them as unproductive and, therefore, unable to produce offspring that would contribute to the labor force.[5] People living with disabilities still encounter the suspicion they cannot or should not contribute to the future of humanity[6]. Where social standards revolve around productivity, absence of ability or decreased ability marks a person as inadequate, both professionally and domestically.[7]

The medical model of disability also contributes to societal interpretations and representations of varying levels of disability. It defines disability as an individual defect that medical professionals are apt to eradicate in order to restore a person to the ‘superior state of health’ required by the ideology of ability.[8] The medical model not only associates disability with damage and destruction, it also defines people living with disabilities as undesirable.[9]

As Russell P. Shuttleworth and Linda Mona argue, a medicalized focus on disability as damage draws attention away from the symbolic meanings of disability and desirability, and the psychological implications of experiencing barriers to sexual expression due to segregation. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson supports their claim in her belief that the medical model effectively distances disabled bodies from abled-bodies. As a result, she concludes, individuals living with disabilities are characterized as inferior and undesirable ‘others.’[10]

From an able-bodied perspective, a person who lacks the ability to perform sexually, in a manner that adheres to societal expectations, is living a limited life style. As Michael Rembis writes, the majority believe this is “an ‘unfortunate’ but unavoidable consequence of inhabiting a disabled body.”[11] The medical model of disability coupled with the social understanding of ‘desirability’ continues to influence the invalidating representations of disability in film.[12] Evidently, the social construct of disability perpetuated through media contributes to the issue of sexual liberation for disabled people.[13]

According to Tobin Siebers, “The medical model too often makes of the world a hospital where the disabled are obliged to be perpetual patients and the nondisabled have the right to play doctor.”[14] The reality of Siebers’ metaphor is unmistakable through an analysis of Freaks, Boxing Helena, and As Good As It Gets. These films will be discussed in order of their release date. As such, a chronological analysis will demonstrate a shift in the cultural understandings of disability over time.

When the concept of disability is represented through film, the plot tends to focus on disability as a problem.[15] Disabled characters are diagnosed and rendered undesirable, in adherence to the medical model. This representation of disability confirms the nondisabled viewers normality, and is meant to maintain social hierarchies.

In the film Freaks, released in 1932, the social hierarchy of able-bodied heteronormativity is temporarily dismantled, but resolved by the end of the film. The film invokes the impossibility of a disabled/able-bodied sexual relationship. In the prologue of Freaks, revulsion toward malformed and mutilated beings is portrayed as the result of long-standing social conditioning. The prologue goes on to say, “The majority of freaks, themselves, are endowed with normal thoughts and emotions. Their lot is truly a heartbreaking one.”[16] Considering the prologue alone would suggest the producers are aware of the weight that comes with negative portrayals of disability, given that the struggles faced by people living with disabilities are noted. However, the film actually perpetuates negative attitudes toward disabled sexuality. The message is contradictory, to say the least.

Throughout the course of the film Hans (Harry Earles) is depicted as having an innocent desire to love Cleo (Olga Baclanova), an aerialist in the same circus as him. Due to the fact Hans is a midget, he is considered one of the ‘freaks’, while Cleo is portrayed as a beautiful and talented able-bodied woman. The audience is aligned with Hans’ character only because he experiences ‘normal’ (able-bodied) desires.[17] Hans’ desire to love Cleo maintains disability as undesirable, both to the audience and to Hans himself. In this film, as well as Boxing Helena and As Good As It Gets, the sole reason disabled desire is deemed acceptable is because it somehow revolves around adjusting to able-bodied ideals. All three films fail to represent disabled sexuality as respectable without modification.

It is ironic that while the prologue states the film will attempt to challenge love and beauty, its narrative depends upon Cleo, and her embodiment as an icon of entrenched ideals. Kim Eunjung argues that by focusing on normative sexual ideals and the desires of such, the audience ‘temporarily’ humanizes Hans.[18] The film depicts Hans as acceptable, only in terms of his ‘innocent’ aspiration to love Cleo. Eunjung writes, by taking for granted men’s desire for able-bodied women the film attempts to “overcome disability.”[19]

In Freaks, as well as in Boxing Helena and As Good As It Gets, the characters are motivated by able-bodiness to overcome their disability, rather than accept and embrace it as it is. Films that depict disability as a condition to be overcome instill the notion that disability and sexuality are conflicting forces, requiring that adjustments be made in order for disabled sexuality to be appropriate.[20]

At the end of the film, having failed to adjust to able-bodied ideals surrounding sexually, Hans safely returns to Frieda (Daisy Earles), a disabled woman who was initially depicted as not “woman enough” for him to establish a relationship with.[21] Here again, disability and undesirability converge. The fact that Hans and Frieda form a successful bond at the end of the film secures the sexual boundary of disabled people and the binary between disabled and able-bodied sexuality. In the end, the film reaffirms social hierarchy by perpetuating the idea that disabled/able-bodied relationships don’t happen.[22]

Depictions of disability in film have progressed since Freaks was released in 1932. Disabled/able-bodied heterosexual relationships are depicted as sustainable in both Boxing Helena and As Good As It Gets. The problem with these films is that disabled characters, more often than not, are in some way healed or cured by the end of the film, as if it were the only ideal option.[23] In Boxing Helena, Helena (Sherilyn Fenn) is portrayed as undesirable due to her disability, which mirrors the depiction of Hans in comparison to his able-bodied love interest (Cleo) in Freaks. While these films were released six decades apart, it is important to note that disability is depicted similarly in some ways. In Boxing Helena, Nick (Julian Sands) is a lonely Atlanta surgeon obsessed with a woman named Helena. After Helena gets in a car accident, Nick amputates her legs above her knees in order to save her life. He later amputates her healthy arms above the elbows as a means of containing her. By amputating her limbs, Nick effectively renders her helpless, and keeps her in his home in order to take care of her.[24] Before Helena’s dismemberment she is depicted as a fantasy of insatiable female sexuality. After her limbs are amputated, she is rendered a disabled woman, and is immediately de-sexualized, in her own eyes, and in the eyes of viewers.[25]

Following her amputations, in a typical ableist moment, Helena questions how she will ever be able to consider herself worthwhile without limbs. Her worth, in her own mind and in the minds of viewers is dependent on her sexuality, which she is sure Nick has taken away from her. Siebers uses an effective metaphor in order to challenge normative views on sexuality. He rhetorically asks, “If sex is walking together on the beach, what is the nature of sex apart from the ability to walk? If a person’s wheelchair gets stuck in the sand, does it mean this person will have little chance of having sex?”[26] After her limbs are amputated, Helena does not believe she can experience sexual pleasure. Her reaction suggests there is no such thing as disabled sexuality. Siebers’ metaphor defends the contrary, as it illustrates the arrogance with which disability and sexuality are viewed. Similarly to the depiction in Freaks, disability and undesirability are converging forces.

In a moment of Nick’s fantasy, Helena ‘comes alive sexually,’ an allusion amusingly equated with her suddenly having arms and legs.[27] She caresses his head as she tells him how women want to be made love to.[28] She begs him, “Give me back what you’ve taken away… I want to be a woman again.”[29] Through Helena’s request, it is implied that being a woman involves having limbs. Nick partially restores what Helena has been missing. As she watches through a semi-opened door, Nick makes love to another woman. The other woman represents her wholeness, and the entire issue of functionality is blurred into sexual ability.[30] The scene depicts what Davis refers to as the ‘bad dream of disability.’[31]

The film ends with the revelation that Helena dreamt the entire scenario. Although a car did hit Helena, her body remained physically intact. The entire film is reduced to the portrayal of disability as a bad dream, as Helena herself cried out in horror when she first discovered her limbs had been removed.[32] Helena is cured of her disability by the end of the film. Her body is depicted as whole once again, as able-bodiness is the ideal.

For people living with disabilities, “subordination, in a contemporary context that supposedly values diversity, is often as good as it gets.”[33] Through an analysis of the film ironically titled, As Good As It Gets, the subordination and de-sexualizaiton of characters living with disabilities is easily identifiable. Romance allows the protagonist, Melvin (Jack Nicholson), to carry to the close of the narrative a sense of desirability that he was lacking before he met Carol (Helen Hunt). Melvin is originally depicted as undesirable; evidently due to the fact he has obsessive-compulsive disorder. As he sheds his disability and, therefore, his undesirability, a heterosexual relationship evolves with Carol.

Melvin’s disability is conflated with his character flaw, as his irritability is easily translated to partiality. Up until the end of the film, Melvin carelessly blurts racist, sexist and homophobic comments. As David Hevey argues, “disabled people are represented almost exclusively as symbols of ‘otherness’ placed within equations which take their non-integration as a natural by-product of their impairment.”[34] It is important to note though, that Melvin is also discriminated against in a way. The fact that his disability is unrealistically conflated with his character flaw makes him undesirable and, therefore, outside the margins of heterosexuality.

Melvin’s obsessive-compulsive disorder confines him. It subjects him to the medical and psychiatric institutions specifically designed to guarantee the production of what Foucault refers to as ‘docile bodies’.[35] The notion of ‘docility’ joins the analyzable body to the manipulable body; a body is docile that may be “subjected, used, transformed and improved.”[36] Carol and Melvin’s psychiatrist attempt to transform and improve him throughout the film. The goal is to free him from his disability, and ultimately, his undesirability, as the two are undeniably conflated.

Carol makes it clear that Melvin is undesirable to her. She begs Simon (Greg Kinnear) to go dancing with her, and then settles for Melvin after Simon tells her he is too tired. While they are out, Melvin tells Carol the day she told him she would never have sex with him, was the day he started taking his medication. “You make me want to be a better man,” he says. This specific scene is an example of the conflation between Melvin’s character flaw and his disability. Melvin believes he would be a better man without his disability. Ableist representations are internalized within him and are, therefore, apparent to viewers. Unachievable expectations often diminish personal development and inform how disabled people see themselves and others.[37]

The transformation of Melvin’s character occurs as he moves away from his disability and toward a more conventional heterosexual able-bodied ending. The audience learns to love Melvin at the same pace Carol does. He becomes more socially acceptable and sexually desirable as his disability dissolves. An analysis of the film effectively demonstrates the necessity of understanding bodies in terms of ability and acceptability. Melvin is not accepted until his disability is no longer evident. The film reinforces the ideal heterosexual able-bodied relationship, while subordinating individual differences.

After analyzing these films, it is apparent that narratives more often than not represent disability as pain and tragedy. As Petra Kuppers writes in her book on disability in contemporary performance, “Disability can be physically painful, but is most likely painful in its encounter with the social.”[38] Kuppers’ perspective addresses the reality that the social constructs of disability, and the stigma historically paired with it, are more severe than the disability itself. Despite depicting disability as tragedy, it is important to note the films included in this essay make progress in terms of representation. In Freaks, the film resolves in heterosexual monogamy with two disabled characters, as Hans is not ‘fit’ for Cleo. Helena wakes up in a hospital bed to realize her amputation was a nightmare she had dreamt. Finally, Melvin engages in a heterosexual monogamous relationship, but only because he is able to shed his undesirable disability. In the first film disabled/able-bodied relationships are depicted as unrealistic. In the second film, a disabled/able-bodied relationship takes place but in the form of a nightmare. In the third film, a disabled/able-bodied relationship takes place and lasts, only because Melvin is no longer considered disabled by the end of the film. Despite progress, even when disabled characters are portrayed in a sexually positive light, negative representations are evident and act to undermine any positive meanings.[39]

The predominance of negative imagery impacts public perceptions and directly influences disabled people’s access to sexually meaningful relationships.[40] Matt Fraser is quoted in Kuppers paper, extending the structural similarity between sex and disability. She writes, “Like sex, disabled bodies are disavowed, shut away from the mainstream, [and] locked into bedrooms.”[41] In an assertion, now well known to the Disability Rights Movement, activist Anne Finger writes,

Sexuality is often the source of our deepest oppression; it is also often the source of our deepest pain. It’s easier to talk about and formulate strategies for changing discrimination in employment, education, and housing than it is to talk about our exclusion from sexuality and reproduction.[42]

Although disabilities are diverse, as is exemplified through an exploration of Hans, Helena, and Melvin as disabled characters, the depiction of their life circumstances are comparable. In terms of Helena and Melvin, who are only, ‘temporarily’ disabled characters, both are depicted as undesirable due to their disabilities. Both characters are ashamed of their disabilities, and simultaneously strive to be as ‘normal’ as possible. This portrayal clearly reinforces the medical model.

Disability in all three films signifies sexual limitation, regardless of whether the physical and mental features of the given impairment affect the characters ability to have sex.[43] Hans and Melvin are only accepted through their engagement with able-bodied desire, as disability is associated with disaster and avoidance rather than multidimensional embodiment.[44] Representations through film reveal misguided assumptions regarding the ability to have sex, which implies that ability itself determines the value of sexual practices and ideals.

People living with disabilities have recounted numerous occasions of exclusion and oppression in terms of their sexuality. Essayist Nancy Mairs, who has multiple sclerosis, expresses how she experiences her own body as doubly shameful; first because she has a body at all, and second, because her body has become “weakened and misshapen by disease.”[45] She reveals how those around her render her invisible and erase her sexuality because her body does not conform to standard notions of beauty.[46] Mairs echoes the experience of Jamie Eddy, a Carleton University student who was born with spina bifida. “Dating with a disability can be tough,” he says, explaining that a lot of the time women close the door on the idea of having a romantic relationship with him.[47] Eddy recalls multiple instances where ignorant questions were asked and stereotypical comments were made. “I once had a woman tell me she could never date me or anyone in a wheelchair because she needed to be with someone taller than her. I get that on a biological level, but the thing is, if I were able to stand up, I would have been taller than her.”[48] Mary Duffy’s photographic series titled Cutting the Ties that Bind directly defies damaging perspectives of disability and sexuality. She reflects,

By confronting people with my naked body, with its softness, its roundness and its threat I wanted to take control, redress the balance in which media representations of disabled women are usually tragic, always pathetic. I wanted to hold up a mirror to all those people who had stripped me bare previously…the general public with naked stares, and more especially the medical profession [that caused those stares in the first place].[49]

As a result of dominant beliefs, disability is most commonly understood as a daunting limitation engendered on the body, rather than an opportunity for alternative perspectives to emerge.[50] Sex, as conceptualized in Siebers paper on disabled ‘sexual culture’ broadens the definition of sexual behavior.[51] Disabled ‘sexual culture’ as she defines it, refers to the experiences of sex itself, as performed by all body types.[52] As the idea of a sex life is traditionally ableist, Siebers suggests discourse surrounding disabled sexuality can trouble the notion of a ‘normal’ sex life.[53] The concept of ‘sexual culture’ provides a deeper meaning of how sex and identity interconnect.[54]

Elaine Wood’s imaginative analysis of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days points to the possibility of experiencing pleasure in unexpected places. Using pain and immobility as inspiration, the main character in Happy Days sings to assert her status as a disabled subject and to give voice to her sexuality in a way that her body is incapable of doing. By transforming her sexuality to her throat, Beckett confounds commonplace views of sexuality that centre on sex organs alone and signals the possibility that the protagonist, Winnie, might experience pleasure in unexpected places.[55] Her song is an expression of the adaptability of sexual exploration regardless of her disabled status.[56] Wood invites a critical reconsideration of the sexual possibilities for the disabled body on display. Her analysis points to the tendency of society at large to consider desirability only from an able-bodied perspective. Her article effectively deconstructs assumptions of the desexualized disabled body, while also bringing them to light, as does Siebers’ paper on ‘sexual culture.’

Winnie’s sexual expression does not necessarily mirror conventional responses of arousal. As Siebers states, sexuality may have no noticeable physical signs of arousal or may not conclude with an orgasm.[57] Having a disability in this sense is both constraining and enabling.[58] Winnie uses her body as a vehicle for political protest. Whereas the medical model looks at disability as abnormality and promotes normalization of all bodies, Beckett’s approach falls within the realm of critical disability studies, as it demonstrates how disabled bodies can serve as a site and vehicle for sexual expression.[59]

Despite attempts to normalize sexuality through an emergence of critical disability studies, Shuttleworth and Mona affirm the sexual lives of disabled people remain segregated. As they see it, multidisciplinary research focusing on disability and sexuality has “addressed issues of gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, and sexual behavior”, but has paid little attention to sexual access for members of the disabled community.[60] The film The Sessions, released in 2012, speaks to the issue of sexual access.

The depiction of disabled sexuality in The Sessions is groundbreaking. As Siebers advocates, sexual agency is central to political agency, and ‘sexual democracy’ should be recognized as a key political struggle.[61] In The Sessions, ‘sexual democracy’ lies at the heart of the film. The plot and the manner in which the narrative unravels depict disability and sexuality in a mindfully new light. The film contrasts conventional representations of disability that rely on pity, and an initiative to overcome disability.[62]

It is important to note the film is based on the life of Mark O’Brien, a poet who contracted polio in 1955 and spent the rest of his life paralyzed and requiring an iron lung. Mark (John Hawkes) was a Berkeley graduate student, a community organizer and a journalist. Throughout the film, he is portrayed as having a likeable personality and lively sense of humor. The film does not reduce Mark to post-polio syndrome and his character is not depicted as needing to be saved.[63] Disability does not mitigate his humanity in the slightest. He is shown writing, praying, shopping, going on dates, listening to football games, etc. In Boxing Helena and As Good As It Gets, Helena sits in a chair for the majority of the film, and in As Good As It Gets, Melvin it depicted as clumsy and undesirable in everything that he does.

The relationships Mark forms with attendants throughout his life are exemplary of sustainable disabled/able-bodied relationships although none of them are sexual. It is clear throughout the film Mark believes in treating all labor, especially that of his caretakers, with value.[64] There is a stark difference in depictions of, and attitudes toward ‘caretakers’ in Boxing Helena and As Good As It Gets. Both Helena and Melvin are bitter toward anyone who attempts to help them, Melvin more so than Helena. They seem bitter not because of the help, but because they have a disability in the first place.

In terms of the relationships Mark develops with his attendants, it is obvious he is neither bitter nor in search of a cure for his disability. Rather, Mark is in search of advice and assistance in achieving his sexual desires. Amanda (Annika Marks) is Mark’s second attendant in the film. She does not necessarily see disability as a tragedy, but refuses to embrace him fully despite her obvious feelings toward him. In one scene she cries in the park as she tells him she is moving to Germany. The fact Amanda is torn between a love she cannot deny and societal expectations surrounding able-bodied desire demonstrates the significance of entrenched norms, and the struggle to overcome what Gayle Rubin terms the ‘charmed circle’ of able-bodied heterosexual monogamy.[65]

Mark’s sexual desires are articulated from the outset and his sexuality is an active force in the narrative.[66] The film links sex and disability in an effort to normalize the two as coinciding forces. The ‘charmed circle’ does not ‘cure’ Mark because the movie does not depict his disability as a disease to be cured. Rather than evading the reality of his sexual desire, the film embraces it fully as Mark yearns to lose his virginity. Cheryl (Helen Hunt) fills the sexual void Mark longs for as she plays the part of his sex surrogate.

Conventional views suggest sex must be spontaneous to be authentic. In Mark’s case this assertion is inaccurate. As he lives with little privacy, his sexual opportunities depend on making arrangements. Disabled people possess little to no sexual anatomy, and tolerate restrictions on their sexual conduct.[67] Mark and Cheryl’s sexual experiences expose with clarity the fragile distinction between the private and public spheres of sexuality.[68] At one point in the film, Mark and Cheryl meet at a motel because the friend’s house they usually meet at is unavailable. The receptionist at the motel laughs when Mark’s attendant tells him he and Cheryl are having sex. It is clear that the only reason the receptionist does not believe what he hears is because Mark is disabled. While able-bodied sexuality is commonplace, disabled sexuality is depicted as unimaginable. This scene demonstrates the reality that the ‘problem’ of the disabled has more to do with the observer than the observed.[69]

During his second session with Cheryl, it is obvious Mark feels nervous being naked in front of her. He says, “Whenever I’m naked, everyone else in the room is always dressed, but now that I’m in a room with another naked person it’s very confusing.”[70] His words demonstrate the deep-seated stigmatization of disabled sexuality. Rather than reacting to Mark the way the receptionist did, Cheryl brings a mirror to their next session to show him his own body. In contrast to Boxing Helena, where her sexuality is rendered invisible after her limbs are amputated, this scene normalizes disabled sexuality.

Mark and Cheryl form an intimate bond throughout the film, with Mark writing a poem for Cheryl to express his feelings. The poem can be interpreted as an example of alternative sexual exploration, similar to that in Happy Days, where the main character sings in order to assert her sexuality. The poem is called “Love poem for no one in particular,” and goes as such,

Let me touch you with my words / For my hands lie lump as empty gloves / Let my words stroke your hair / Slide down your back and tickle your belly / Ignore my wishes and stubbornly refuse to carry out my quietest desires / Let my words enter your mind bearing torches / Admit them willingly into your being / So they may caress you gently / Within.[71]

While the poem acknowledges impossibility, love is expressed and fulfilled by and through Mark’s words, not purely within the poem itself, but in how the words make Cheryl feel.[72] This impossible yet possible paradox, as Andy Jackson describes in his blog post on The Sessions, relates to another strength in that it says the unsayable.[73] He writes, “This disabled man wants to be sensually and sexually intimate with this woman. He wants to be generous, enlightening, and loving,” all of which are characteristics society routinely denies people with disabilities.[74]

As a result of the bond created between Mark and Cheryl, it is hard for her to continue acting as his sex surrogate. For this reason, she calls off the last two sessions they had scheduled, and is seen driving away from the motel in tears. By the end of the film, Mark has created not one but three lasting relationships with able-bodied women. Amanda, Cheryl and Susan, whom he meets later in life. All three women attend his funeral in the final scene of the film.

The Sessions effectively challenges predominant stereotypes about bodies and norms of sexuality and social acceptability. Through an examination of film, this essay has attempted to deconstruct dominant representations of bodies in visual culture and the notions of categorization they result in. In order to achieve equality, society as a whole must move toward a standpoint Davis refers to as ‘dismodernism,’ which references a new way of thinking based on the concept of difference. Michael Rembis similarly agrees that society “must move toward tolerance, beyond inclusion, beyond the acknowledgement of non-normative sex and sexuality, eroticism and desire, in short, beyond the binary.”[75]

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[1] Lennard J. Davis, “Visualizing the Disabled Body” (New York: Routledge, 2005), 167.

[2] Chris Shilling, “The Body in Sociology” (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2008), 11.

[3] Michel Foucault, “The Political Investment of the Body” (New York: Routledge, 2005), 100.

[4] Robert McRuer, “Disabling Sex: Notes on Crip Theory and Sexuality” (Durham, Duke University Press, 2011), 108.

[5] Tobin Siebers, “A sexual culture for disabled people” (Durham, Duke University Press, 2012), 40).

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid., 43.

[8] Siebers, “Sexual Culture,” 39.

[9] Michael A Rembis, “Beyond the Binary” (SringerLink, 2009), 20.

[10] Ann Millet-Gallant, The Disabled Body in Contemporary Art (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 29.

[11] Supra note 9, 3.

[12] Petra Kuppers, Disability and the Contemporary Performance (New York: Routledge, 2004), 59.

[13] Russell P. Shuttleworth and Linda Mona, “Introduction to the Symposium” (Berkeley: University of California, 2002), 6.

[14] Siebers, “Sexual Culture, 38.

[15] Davis, “Visualizing Disabled,” 169.

[16] Kim Eunjung, “A Man, With the Same Feelings” (Columbus: The Ohio State University, 2010), 131.

[17] Ibid., 132.

[18] Ibid,

[19] Eunjung, “A Man,” 132.

[20] Ibid., 133.

[21] Ibid., 132.

[22] Ibid., 133.

[23] Davis, “Visualizing Disabled,” 169.

[24] Davis, “Visualizing Disabled,” 173.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Siebers, “Sexual Culture,” 42.

[27] Davis, “Visualizing Disabled,” 174.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid., 175.

[33] Robert McRuer, “Queer Theory and Critical Disability” (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003), 87.

[34] Davis, “Visualizing Disabled,” 169.

[35] Foucault, “Political Investment, 100.

[36] Ibid., 102.

[37] Millet-Gallant, “Body in Contemporary Art,” 11.

[38] Kuppers, “Contemporary Performance,” 40.

[39] Shuttleworth and Mona, “Intro to Symposium,” 7.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Supra note 37, 44.

[42] McRuer, “Disabling Sex,” 107.

[43] Siebers, “Sexual Culture,” 45.

[44] Millet-Gallant, “Body in Contemporary Art,” 26.

[45] Ulka U. Bates, et al., “Women’s Bodies” (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 81.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Jamie Eddy, (personal interview, 2016).

[48] Ibid.

[49] Mitchell and Snyder, The Body and Physical Difference: Discourses and Disability (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997), 63.

[50] Millet-Gallant, “Body in Contemporary Art,” 10.

[51] Siebers, “Sexual Culture,” 50.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Ibid., 51.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Elaine Wood, “Cript Sexuality in Happy Days” (Edinburgh University Press, 2015), 211.

[56] Ibid., 212.

[57] Siebers, “Sexual Culture,’ 49.

[58] Shilling, “Body in Sociology,” 8.

[59] Millet-Gallant, “Body in Contemporary Art,” 7.

[60] Shuttleworth and Mona, “Intro to Symposium,” 2.

[61] Supra note 56, 52.

[62] Heather Liane Talley, “Five Things “The Sessions” Gets Right” (The Feminist Wire, 2013), 1–4.

[63] Ibid.

[64] Ibid.

[65] Christopher Boulton, “Antiporn Agendas: Feminism, Internet Filtering, and Religious Strategies,” (Santa Barbara, California: Praeger, 2015), 79.

[66] Talley, “Five Things,” 1–4.

[67] Siebers, “Sexual Culture,” 50.

[68] Siebers, “Sexual Culture,” 52.

[69] Davis, “Visualizing Disabled,” 175.

[70] Mark O’Brien, The Sessions, (2012).

[71] O’Brien, The Sessions, (2012).

[72] Andy Jackson, “no one in particular” (Wordpress, 2013), 5.

[73] Ibid.

[74] Ibid.

[75] Rembis, Beyond the Binary,” 7.

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