While online the other day, I came across a Devotee group where someone had posted a video for a new BBC documentary called Meet the Devotees. In the documentary, Emily (the journalist), who happens to have cerebral palsy ventures into the world of devoteeism. Prior to the documentary, Emily had no idea or was even aware of devoteeism, and throughout the 24 minute documentary, she interviews many devotees, amputees and other women with handicaps as well.
One thing I noticed in the documentary, is that it was just like every other thing out there about devoteeism. It focused a lot of the negative side of dev’s and had very little to say in the way of how being a devotee is positive (for those who feel it is). Although I know I struggle with understanding and accepting devoteeism myself still, that doesn’t mean I don’t think both sides of the story should be represented equally. I wish she had interviewed more aware dev’s, who aren’t troubled, deviant, or however you want to look at them. More dev’s who realize the weight of what being attracted to a disabled person feels like, and how it must feel for the disabled person to be admired for a part of them that they themselves struggle with.
When Emily began crying in the documentary after asking the internet what she should do in her own video for dev’s to watch, I wanted to cry with her. She was hoping to have someone tell her to do all the things they would expect an able-bodied model/woman to do, and she was sorely and sadly disappointed when all they wanted to see was her do the menial, boring, disabled stuff she does everyday just to live. People are getting off to her struggling to live and that’s where devoteeism can get really blurry between the admired and the admirer.
I know for myself, that has been the biggest reason I only befriend devotees and not date them anymore. After I did my interview with my dear friend SingularityNL on his blog, I realized that for me, dating devotees is a conflict of interest. There are some dev’s that I’ve met out there that are not the stereotypical dev a lot of people talk about. They are great guys and all that, but the sheer number of overbearing, scary dev’s that I’ve come into contact with totally outweighs them. I’ve found – in person, online and through internet searching – that most dev’s only care about the disability. They only see the chair or crutches or stump. I’ve also found many dev’s assume that if they message you, that you should respond, as if we aren’t being approached by 50 other people that happen to be just like him. For me, dev’s aren’t an interest because they are too easy. Devotees want girls like me, plain and simple: disabled. I want to be with someone who has to actively work just as hard as I do to accept and understand my disability, so that we both have to work continually, not just myself. I don’t want someone who is going to praise and fawn over me for something that happened to me that I couldn’t control – there’s no challenge there and no reward. I support devoteeism for those who enjoy, love and want it, but as for me, I’m good wheeling after two-leggers 😉
I had really hoped that this documentary would shed new light on how devoteeism can be better accepted in the world, or how dev’s and the disabled can try to strike a better harmony between each other, but to my usual disappointment, no such luck. I suggest everyone take the time to watch the video, just to broaden your own minds. Although the documentary was hard to watch for me, I do feel like a better person now because of it…a more aware person who would love to see more inclusion for the dev community and my dev friends that reside in it 🙂