January 25, 2010

Jennifer Greenbarg

Professor Chris Gabbard

LIT 4093

26 January 2010

752 words


The critically-acclaimed, post-punk band, Joy Division’s classic sophomore release, Closer, featured a song entitled: Passover. The gloomy lyrics written in this compelling song signify the feelings and emotions of the leadvocalist and epileptic, Ian Curtis, in some of his remaining days. The perception of a disabled person is viewed much differently when seen through the eyes of the disabled.

I think the lyrics: “Left with a mark on the door”(Passover) on the fourth line of the third stanza of the song refer to the Passover in the book of Exodus. The wording from the King James Version Bible follows: “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt” (Ex. 12:13).  The song writer wants to experience a peace that comes from knowing he will be safe because of what he has accomplished; just as God’s chosen people knew theywould be safe as long as they obeyed God.

In the proceeding line of the song, “Is this the gift that I wanted to give,” (Passover) the song writer refers to his life as a gift and doubts whether his life is good enough to offer him the peace and protection he desires. The song writer also evaluates his life in terms of how he has lived it so far and whether or not it has been pleasing and acceptable in the eyes of others. The proceeding line, “Forgive and forgets what they teach,” (Passover) signifies how as the Israelite’s wandered through the wilderness, God forgave them of their disobedience to him, and even though he forgave them; they still doubted that he would provide for them. The lyrics suggest that the song writer might have forgotten that forgiveness is available and that God can take care of him no matter what the circumstances might be.

In the proceeding line: “Or pass through the deserts and wastelands once more,” (Passover) signifies how the writer of this song is freed from all pain, guilt, and the resentment of having a disability. The perception of a person with a disability can be seen differently from a medical model versus a social model. Within the medical model, an individual’s physical or mental deficit is emphasized; whereas the social model emphasizes the barriers and prejudices that exclude people with disabilities from fully engaging in society and accessing appropriate health care. (1793)

Of the 10% of the world’s population who have some form of disability; 80% live in countries that are economically poor and have little or no access to needed health services such as rehabilitation. A person living in poverty might be more susceptible to develop some form of a disability; however a person that has a disability is often times more susceptible to living in poverty. For example, a person living in poverty might develop a disability due tomalnutrition,or substandard working conditions. A person who already has a disability might end up living in poverty because of the more limited access to education and work. (1793)

Some suggest extending the social model of disability to include both structural and psycho-emotional dimensions in order to understand the breadth of experience of disability and the issues associated with disability identity. A counter-argument to this suggestion is that extending the social model this way, can weaken the campaigning power of the social model that will in turn effect political changes within society (Barnes, Mercer pp. 83-100).

The writer of the song, Passover, exemplified extreme emotions of fear, doubt, guilt, and hope that were a result of someone living with a disability. When seen through the eyes of the song writer, one develops an appreciation for the disabled and what they are forced to endure. People with disabilities would benefit greatly through health professionals gaining a new perspective about the medical model of disability. This new perspective should focus onthe person as a “whole” and not merely just their disability. This would place more emphasis on helping the disabled return to as normal a life as possible by setting goals of returning to the work force.


“Works Cited”

“Disability: beyond the medical model.” Letter. The Lancet 28 November  2009: 1793. Print.

Joy Division. Closer. Factory Records, 1980.

Reeve, Donna. Psycho-emotional Dimensions of Disability and the Social   Model. Leeds:

The Disability Press, 2004. Web.

The King James Version Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1972. Print.


Society’s Barbie Doll Image

April 20, 2010

Jennifer Greenbarg

Professor Chris Gabbard


20 April 2010

565 words

Society’s Barbie Doll Image

Can a simple Barbie doll change a society’s perception on people living with disabilities? The Share a Smile Becky Barbie doll developed by Mattel is an 11 ½ inch fashion doll that comes with her own wheelchair. Mattel developed this doll in conjunction with the National Parent Network on Disabilities. The way in which the disabled population is portrayed in the media can either help or harm society’s viewpoint.

Girls are influenced at a young age by the ideal, American image of Mattel’s Barbie doll. Jill Barad, president of Mattel, estimated that 99% of girls aged 3 to 10 years old own at least one Barbie doll. Media’s portrayal of living up to the “ideal” body image is becoming an ever increasing trend for American girls and young women. The American research group Anorexia Nervosa & Related Eating Disorders, Inc. says that one out of every four college-aged women uses unhealthy methods of weight control that include: Fasting, skipping meals, excessive exercise, laxative abuse, and self-induced vomiting (Media Awareness Network). The medical and social model in this topic can be clearly seen. The medical model is shown through Barbie having a disability and being portrayed in a wheelchair. The social model is shown through the idea correlated between being disabled and being beautiful. This correlation is supporting media’s distorted view that disabled people are physically beautiful people. How would a disabled young girl feel if she thought she wasn’t as pretty as Barbie?

The way that the media portrays people with disabilities does not reflect reality. Not all disabled people are beautiful and in contrast not all normate people are beautiful. Society deserves to know the true and genuine reality of people living with disabilities. Often times only the very positive aspects or very negative aspects of living with a disability are portrayed. Since this inaccurate idea of being disabled is portrayed through our media, the possibility of displaying a more genuine side of people with disabilities should be considered. Could advertising Barbie with a more realistic, healthy figure be the first step to achieving normalcy among young American girls and their view of thinking? Then, maybe a disabled Barbie doll with a more realistic, healthy figure could be advertised.

Society could benefit from the influence of real, disabled actors and performers. People often times learn more by seeing the disabled than by learning about them through a documentary (Radtke). The media likes to have beautiful, famous, Hollywood movie stars portray the characters of disabled people, but this idea does not help society develop an appreciation for the disabled population, but distorts their view of what it means to be disabled. It causes the viewer to think that the actual disabled person is not worthy enough or even able to actually play a part in a movie or television program. This idea creates a very unhealthy notion of what it means to be disabled.

The way in which the disabled population is portrayed in the media can either help or harm society’s viewpoint. This view often times is distorted because the disabled population is portrayed as being beautiful and heroic instead of being real and normal. With the influence of disabled people working alongside other professionals in the television and movie industry, the disabled population could be more accurately portrayed as the inner beauty is known as well as the physical.


“Beauty and Body Image in the Media” Media Awareness Network, 2010.Web.

Radtke, Peter. “Between Beggar and Batman The image of people with disabilities in the media.”  Web. 20 April 2010.

Gender War

March 30, 2010

Jennifer Greenbarg

Professor Chris Gabbard

LIT 4093

30 March 2010

469 words

Gender War

In the Disabled Veterans in History by David A. Gerber, anthropologist Robert Murphy explains how easily a man can loose his sense of manhood when he becomes disabled. A woman’s natural inclination is to nurture and help those in need, but this tendency can become detrimental to the overall wellbeing of a man when he becomes dependent on women to fulfill his basic needs. A continual war is being fought where the disabled man wants to regain his sense of masculinity and the woman wants to express her compassion towards the man through nurturing.

“The potential for infantilization of seriously injured men or women alike is implicit in hospitalization and rehabilitation, because they cannot care for themselves.” “If also smothered with pity and love, patronized and spoiled by family and caregivers, a man may in the gendered terms of culture be feminized if he exhibits indecision, weakness, passivity, and dependence” (Gerber 10). I have been exposed to this idea of infantilization through working at a hospital as a therapy aide, assisting individuals with varying degrees of disabilities. I will admit that I have been prone to displaying acts of love, pity towards some of the patients that I work with because of their condition. It is very hard for me not to show love and attention towards my patients, but I realize that a good balance is key in helping individuals, especially men, maintain a sense of autonomy, independence. While working with Physical Therapists I’ve learned that one of their main goals is to help individuals achieve maximum independence, so they can live as independently as possible when they are discharged. This can only be accomplished through intense rehabilitation combined with a sense of empathy for your patients, not sympathy and pity. Displaying empathy will let your patients know that you care about how they are feeling and encouraging independence and hard work will help your patients, especially men, regain their sense of gender roles.

There is a continual war being fought where the disabled man wants to regain his sense of manhood by finding his independence and providing for his family and the woman wants to fulfill her role as the caretaker by nurturing the disabled man; thus paralyzing the man’s efforts at achieving his autonomy. Robert Murphy explained that in Freud’s terms boys “are forced to lose the mother as both love object and model, “in order to fulfill the cultural expectations for manhood, but that the male’s “grasp of masculinity is threatened continually by the urge to fall back into her folds, to reverse hard-won autonomy, and relapse into dependent passivity. (Gerber 10)” This war can only be won when one learns to treat disabled individuals with empathy and encourages maximum independence.

Works Cited:

Gerber, David. “Disabled Veterans in History.” The University Of Michigan Press. 30

March 2010.

Revealed Innocence

March 9, 2010

Professor Chris Gabbard

LIT 4093

9 March 2010

679 words

Revealed Innocence

In John Steinbeck’s, Of Mice and Men, Curley’s wife is portrayed mainly as a tart who throws herself at the ranchers in order to gain attention of men. She is seen as a mischievous young woman who looks for opportunities to frame people into trouble. The portrayal of Curley’s wife is somewhat a misrepresentation of who she really is when you choose to look past her made-up face and into the soul of an innocent, young girl.

In the last paragraph of page 92 in Of Mice and Men, the text states: “Curley’s wife lay with a half-covering of yellow hay (Of Mice and Men).” The idea of Curley’s wife being half- covered reveals to the reader the intention of the author to exhibit more of who Curley’s wife really was. It foretells that another side to Curley’s wife is going to be portrayed. In the following sentence: “And the meanness and the plannings and the discontent and the ache for attention were all gone from her face” (Of Mice and Men) suggests that there is another side to Curley’s wife that deserves attention. This side implies that the judgment connected with Curley’s wife was inaccurate and that all of those misconceptions of a mean, mischievous young woman were not entirely true. There is a completely innocent side to Curley’s wife that was never fully portrayed till now.

In the following line, the text states: “She was very pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young.” (Of Mice and Men) The side of Curley’s wife that was most often portrayed in Of Mice and Men, was one of a young girl who hungered for attention by indulging her efforts into her physical appearance. Curley’s wife would often wear a lot of makeup that made her lips look full and her eyes heavily made up. Her fingernails were always painted and her hair was rolled into little clusters like sausages (Of Mice and Men). This facade of Curley’s wife is now replaced with a much more naturalistic and simplistic portrait. This portrait dissolves all past thoughts of her as a mischievous tart hungering for attention and portrays her as a naïve and innocent young girl who has no wrong doings written on her heart. The reader is able to see past the made-up face and into the eyes of a young girl just wanting to love and be loved.

The perception of a person with a disability can be seen differently from a medical model versus a social model. Within the medical model, an individual’s physical or mental deficit is emphasized; whereas the social model emphasizes the barriers and prejudices that exclude people with disabilities from fully engaging in society and accessing appropriate healthcare (The Lancet). Curley’s wife is portrayed as having more of a social model of disability versus a medical model because throughout most of the text, she is looked at with a certain type of prejudice because of how she presents herself. There is almost a barrier that exists between Curley’s wife and the ranchers because they know of what she is capable of and are warned to keep their distance from her. Many adolescent girls believe physical appearance is a major part of their self-esteem and their body is a major sense of self (American Association of University Women, 1991). It is this very concept that Curley’s wife associated herself with.

Beauty is defined as the qualities that give pleasure to the senses (WordNet). Curley’s wife, at the end of her life, is seen in a way that brings pleasure to the mind of the reader when one sees her in an innocent, sweet manner. All past misconceptions of how she is portrayed throughout most of the text are erased for a moment in time. Beauty is found in the eyes of the beholder. Curley’s wife can be seen as a person of beauty when you choose to look past her made-up face and into the soul of an innocent, young girl.

Works Cited

“Adolescent Girls and Body Image.” National Association of Social Workers, Vol. 2, number 4. 11 March 2010. http://www.socialworkers.org/practice/adolescent_health/ah0204.asp

“Disability: beyond the medical model.” Letter. The Lancet28 November

2009: 1793. Print.

Of  Mice and Men. New York: Penguin Group, 1937. Print.

WordNet, Princeton University. Web. 9 March 2009

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January 22, 2010

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