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People We Love: Francesca Martinez, Comedian

The minute the Disability Visibility Project read the headline for an article about Francesca Martinez, we were hooked: ‘I’ve accepted my cerebral palsy – now I’m calling on others to join the revolution.’

This one quote grabbed our attention:

…accepting yourself as you are is an act of civil disobedience. Because you’re thinking for yourself.

 

Consider us comrades, Francesca! Here are excerpts from an article written by Francesca published by The Independent on August 11, 2014:

Most people around me – including the obscenely beautiful and supremely able-bodied – suffered from terrible body image. And it had nothing to do with any kind of palsy and everything to do with a culture that religiously promotes impossible ideals. The real cause of my unhappiness was growing up in a world which continually tells us that we’re not good enough, that we have to conform to a predefined set of parameters in order to be considered successful, beautiful, desirable. (This, despite the fact that most of those successful, beautiful and desirable people seemed to have an awful lot of breakdowns.) We’re told to fear difference in ourselves and others, and that’s why much of the media projects such an airbrushed version of reality. I wondered why physical perfection was always linked to happiness when it often appeared to cause problems. I mean, if being rich and beautiful leads to inner peace, wouldn’t we all be buying self-help books from Kate Moss? So who did this ubiquitous superficial value system really serve?

It became clear why this mass worship of conformity dominates our culture. It’s not because it spreads light and joy and peace across the globe, it’s because our society is built on consumption. And consumerism will only thrive if you can convince enough people that they’re lacking in some way, and that what they really need is the latest product/outfit/look to be “normal”. That’s it. We’re sold this lie so that we’ll keep buying crap that we don’t need. So that we’ll continue to attempt to attain “normality” through purchases and surgeries and upgrades and iShit. Incessant advertising gnaws away at our self-worth and then generously steps in to fill the gap. Again and again. But this empty cycle of acquisition and obsessing about trivialities just leads to debt, unhappiness, and a deep dissatisfaction with our lives and bodies. It is a culture that is fundamentally at odds with the fact that difference and disability are a natural, normal part of life.

When I stopped pursuing someone else’s idea of normality, I began to enjoy life again and my priorities changed. Instead of looking inwards and fretting about my numerous imperfections, I felt my perspective broaden.

The sinister truth is that this slavish adherence to superficial values not only fuels the endless fires of consumerism, it also disempowers people so that they are unable to focus on the really important stuff like protecting human rights, reducing inequality, tackling an unjust economic system, challenging the corporate takeover of our democracies, and averting environmental destruction. Promoting “normality” is a political choice that serves the powerful, while leaving the rest of us (ie “good citizens”) dissatisfied and insecure. Who needs armies to control people if you can keep them busy chasing shiny things instead, or struggling to make ends meet?

That’s why accepting yourself as you are is an act of civil disobedience. Because you’re thinking for yourself. You’re not partaking in a cycle that is destroying the environment and which functions by exploiting millions of people who are producing all this junk on poverty wages. And you’re also freeing up valuable time and energy to focus on things that desperately need our attention.

Read the entire article: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/comedy/features/comedian-francesca-martinez-ive-accepted-my-cerebral-palsy–now-im-calling-on-others-to-join-the-revolution-9652761.html

Francesca Martinez

Website: http://www.francescamartinez.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wobblycomedian

Twitter: @chessmartinez

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