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The integration of gender studies with disability scholarship

Women with Disabilities

Essays in Psychology, Culture, and Politics

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edited by Michelle Fine and Adrienne Asch

"More than most collections of essays, this one is integrated by the editors' clearly articulated intention to unite politics and scholarship, disability studies and women's studies, theory, analysis, and action. They have succeeded remarkably well in finding (or perhaps helping to shape) essays that make those necessary connections."
The Women's Review of Books

Women with disabilities are women first, sharing the dreams and disappointments common to women in a male-dominated society. But because society persists in viewing disability as an emblem of passivity and incompetence, disabled women occupy a devalued status in the social hierarchy. This book represents the intersection of the feminist and disability rights perspectives; it analyzes the forces that push disabled women towards the margins of social life, and it considers the resources that enable these women to resist the stereotype.

Drawing on law, social science, folklore, literature, psychoanalytic theory, and political activism, this book describes the experience of women with disabilities. The essays consider the impact of social class, race, the age at which disability occurs, and sexual orientation on the disabled woman's self esteem as well as on her life options. The contributors focus their inquiry on the self perceptions of disabled women and ask: From what sources do these women draw positive self images? How do they resist the culture's power to label them as deviant? The essays describe the ways in which disabled women face discrimination in the workplace and the failure of the mainstream women's movement to address their concerns.

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Excerpt

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).

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Reviews

"This timely book offers needed scholarship and astute analysis aimed at promoting positive self-images among disabled women. In the process, the book shows how it is possible to counter conventional stereotypes that demean and degrade."
New Directions for Women

"As feminists who are also disabled, the editors are uniquely qualified to present this overview of the connections and divisions between nondisabled and disabled women. Viewing the position of women with disabilities from a socialist feminist perspective, they emphasize that there can be no true equality of rights and opportunity witout honest appreciation by the majority of the physical and emotional differences of those who have grown up on the fringes of society."
Belles Lettres

"By introducing gender into the analysis of disability, this collection makes an important contribution to understnading the personal and societal politics of disability rights and their necessary connection to the feminist movement...This collection is for anyone interested in human relations and human rights."
Choice

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Contents

1. On Embodiment: A Case Study of Congenital Limb Deficiency in American Culture – Gelya Frank
2. Sex Roles and Culture: Social and Personal Reactions to Breast Cancer – Beth E. Meyerowitz. Shelley Chaiken, and Laura K. Clark
3. In Search of a Heroine: Images of Women with Disabilities in Fiction and Drama – Deborah Kent
4. The Construction of Gender and Disability in Early Attachment – Adrienne Harris and Dana Wideman
5. Daughters with Disabilities: Defective Women or Minority Women? – Harilyn Rousso
6. Friendship and Fairness: How Disability Affects Friendship Between Women – Berenice Fisher and Roberta Galler
7. Disability and Ethnicity in Conflict: A Study in Transformation – Marilynn J. Phillips
8. Never-Married Old Women and Disability: A Majority Experience – Barbara Levy Simon
9. Women, Work, and Disability: Opportunities and Challenges – Nancy Felipe Russo and Mary A. Jansen
10. Disabled Women and Public Policies for Income Support – Nancy R. Mudrick
11. Autonomy as a Different Voice: Women, Disabilities, and Decision Making – Joanna K. Weinberg
12. Shared Dreams: A Left Perspective on Disability Rights and Reproductive Rights – Adrienne Asch and Michelle Fine
13. Smashing Icons: Disabled Women and the Disability and Women’s Movements – Marian Blackwell-Stratton, Mary Lou Breslin, and Arlene Byrnne Mayerson
Epilogue: Research and Politics to Come – Adrienne Asch and Michelle Fine

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About the Author(s)

Michelle Fine is Associate Professor of Psychology in Education in the Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development Program and Women's Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Adriene Asch, a doctoral candidate in social psychology at Columbia University, is a psychotherapist in private practice and a Senior Human Rights Specialist for the New York State Division of Human Rights.

Subject Categories

Psychology
Sociology
Disability Studies


In the series

Health, Society, and Policy, edited by Sheryl Ruzek and Irving Kenneth Zola.

No longer active.

Health, Society and Policy, edited by Sheryl Ruzek and Irving Kenneth Zola, takes a critical stance with regard to health policy and medical practice, ranging broadly in subject matter. Backlist titles include books on the legal and professional status of midwifery, the experience and regulation of kidney transplants, the evolution of federal law on architectural access, and a political/ethical argument for making the community responsible for universal access to health care.

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