Most disability logos just consist of the usual stick-figure-in-the-wheelchair logo, or a derivation thereof.
After spotting this logo for No Barriers No Borders, I went looking for others. And I got to thinking about the representations of disabled bodies in logos.
I set aside those images dealing with sport, and those not including any representation of a PWD’s whole body. Here are a few typical samples of what I was left with. I haven’t cherry-picked; I mostly just grabbed from the first few pages of a Google Images search.
My question to you is:
What do all of these logos have in common?
The Americans with Disabilities Act
yapa.com.au “Opening The Doors”
If you’re wanting an extra clue to where I’m going with the “What do all of these logos have in common?” question, it’s here (highlight to show):
Which group of PWD does every logo exclude?
There may well be other issues to speak about as well as the one I’m picking up on – add your thoughts in comments!
Edited to add: Sunless Nick was the first to pick up on what I was noticing, which is that none of the bodies are in a bed or otherwise horizontal. All are sitting or standing.
Anna elaborates beautifully:
I don’t think she’s suggesting that every logo should do this – she’s pointing out that none of them do.
So, of folks who have the most barriers to self-advocacy and visibility, the ones who are the most likely to be abused (the rates of sexual abuse in long-term care centers are staggering), the ones who are least likely to be known by the public, and the ones who will have the most difficulty in getting the attention of politicians, advocates, and the general public are the ones who are not included in any of these logos.
Logos are, of necessity, shorthand. Nobody expects every single type of body to be present in every single type of logo. However, when you look at a corpus of logos, and one particular type of body is never, ever represented, there’s something going on. These logos show evidence of trying to be inclusive. They depict people in wheelchairs, people standing, people of various sizes and ages, people with crutches and braces and canes, people of multiple genders and races and religions – but the one thing they don’t show is people who have to lie down all the time.
When those people are among the most disadvantaged, the most discriminated against, the most abused, the most isolated, and find it the most difficult to access appropriate, adequate care – and they are ignored by the very organisations claiming to advocate for them – there is a problem.
For more information, check out Bedbound Unlimited: Surviving and thriving while confined to bed.