I have never considered myself to be trendy. To be honest, I typically "discover" the latest fashion fad just as it is beginning to go out of style, and I still have clothes from high school hanging somewhere in the depths of my closet. Who knows, pretty soon wide-striped neon might be considered fashionable, and I'll be ahead of a trend for once!
TV over the weekend it occurred to me that there is one trend that
unknowingly I have been sporting. Lately it seems that every other
commercial and just about every television drama features an amputee.
From Grey's Anatomy to Bounty commercials, we are everywhere!
I love that amputees are being featured more frequently in the
mainstream media, I am left wondering why. I suspect that the sudden
interest stems from our Wounded Warriors as well as amputee athletes
(particularly Oscar Pistorius). Of course Oscar is now famous for a far
more tragic event, but the awareness about amputees and prosthetic
technology that his presence in the Olympic garnered cannot be
Of course, the vast majority of amputees in this
country are neither wounded warriors nor super athletes: we are normal
citizens who are trying to live the happiest and most productive lives
possible. We aren't receiving awards, or winning gold medals or seeking
accolades. We are simply working for acceptance and accessibility as we
go about our daily routines.
I find myself feeling divided about
the sudden influx of amputees in television and on commercials. On one
hand it is wonderful that members of my community are being highlighted.
At the same time, it feels as if the amputee is relegated to little
more than a prop, shown to elicit sympathy from the viewer. After all,
it is hard not to remember that Kleenex was there to dry the tears of
the little girl who was watching her daddy (wearing military fatigues
and a shiny new prosthetic leg) walk for the first time.
like the metallic pink shirts and black stirrup pants that are in the
back of my dresser drawer, I am sure that the amputee trend will
eventually wane. I only wish that the commercial value of using an
amputee will diminish because society needs to see amputees in a
realistic light. We are parents, siblings, teachers, students,
neighbors, friends, business owners and customers. We are more than the
shock value elicited by our missing appendage.