The Myth of ‘Healthy Bodies’: An Archival & Data-Based Examination

The Myth of 'Healthy Bodies': An Archival & Data-Based Examination

Ms Bhavani EsapathiZoom

We are going to unwrap historical narratives that set the bar for understanding disability politics, medical standards and the normative body. Of course systems like BMI have come with a lot of criticism but the notion of a standardised or normative body still underpin much of our medical narratives. Disability politics has come a long way and it is time we notice that 'disability' as a category can only exist against the normative body ie; healthy body. Can invisible disabilities due to rise in chronic autoimmune diseases help us rethink the way we see disabled bodies and what does this mean for the normative body?

This paper recounts recent health data with disabled & those living with invisible disabilities to decipher if the normative is indeed synonymous with the healthy body as we have understood through History. Corker & Davis [2002] have unpacked how disabled bodies are identified as lacking in something, much like McLaughlin et al. [2008] who assures us that this comparison with the normative is ingrained in us since childhood. So there’s no escape. Until the rise of invisible disabilities over the past two decades [primarily in Europe & South Asia] concurrent to the prevalence of autoimmune diseases diagnosis. We can now statistically thus accurately challenge the illusion of the normative body which has been holding the invisible human body in captivity for most of human history.

We will look at how new data demands of us to investigate how we see, analyse & understand the human body thus altering the narrative for the disabled, invisibly disabled & chronically ill body which in turn exposes the shortcomings of medical history and corresponding archives designed to perpetuate the myth of 'Healthy Bodies'.

Fri 14:30 - 16:00
Disability, Inequalities, Race
Standard paper