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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Amputee Trend

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!

Watching 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!

While 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 dismissed.

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.

Much 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.

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