Prom season is upon us (technically it’s over in most places, but still). This means you’re going to see tons and tons of those pictures on Instagram and Twitter of cute couples where one of them has Down Syndrome or Autism or something of the sort. It’s cute, right? Nothing wrong with that. Except there is.
Imagine this. You’re sixteen years old, a very delicate time in your life, and you have Autism. Maybe people bully you for it, maybe they treat you differently, but you’ve never been accepted truly for who you are, minus the autism. You get asked out to prom by someone at your school, and you’re ecstatic. You have a wonderful night, take some pictures, and it’s done.
The next week, you look online, and see a picture of you and your date online, followed by people saying “Aw, how sweet!” and “It’s so nice that they would take someone like that out!”
And it all comes crashing down.
You are not doing us any favors by asking someone with a disability or disorder out to a dance or event. You’re insulting us. We’re not people to be pitied or used as props.
When you share a picture of a couple who both have down syndrome on Facebook, you’re not erasing the times you’ve used ableist slurs to describe someone. We do not exist to make you feel better about yourself.
We are not little puppies for you to baby or call cute, we’re human beings, and more often than not, once we turn twelve, we’re thrown out of the system as we’re no longer as marketable as the awkward kids with little quirks.
Obviously, I cannot speak for every single person that’s affected with down syndrome, or autism, a disability, or anything of the sort, but I cannot imagine anyone would like being exploited in this way. We are treated so often like burdens, that it’s sickening to see people treating us like something so pitiable that it’s an enormous act of generosity to even treat us as human.
You can take someone out to prom without making yourself seem like a hero for doing it. We are human, and you’re no better a person when you try to treat us like children. So remember that when you see the comments on pictures such as these saying how cute it is without even a second thought, people like me are being used for internet fame and to feel like a decent human for a night or two.
hello! my name is sunny, i'm a 15 year old bunny struggling with learning three languages at once and deciding which dress to wear while i crush the patriarchy with my kitten heels. please correct me and educate me if i'm stepping out of lane or have done something wrong! i'm always looking to [...]