Devoteeism From The Other Side: A Disabled Woman’s Perspective

I’m delighted to share with you today a post from an online friend. She is a woman with a disability and this is how she thinks about devs and devoteeism…

The disabled and the devotees are basically STUCK.
a) the feminists say: you shall not ‘succumb’ to a devotee because of his hero(ine)/saviour notion of you
b) the devotees say: you have issues w/ your disability when you reject them

That’s bullshit. So why not turn this into a boy-meets-girl-story rather than a sob story?! That’s what I’d suggest.

 

Devoteeism & Heartbreak

On my road to recovery after a surgery I had two years ago, I became an avid reader once again in my life. I was looking for answers & things that interested me and I found a whole lot of them. One book and sometimes movie led me to another one, I was (and I am still) soaking up knowledge like a sponge. I have always been like that, it’s in me. I guess, I’m just curious to find out how things work in order to understand them. Then I came across ‘devoteeism’ once again and Ruth’s book was suggested to me on my Amazon page. Clever data-mining.

So another to-read book.

I never got what’s wrong about finding a disability attractive. I never bought into that. I was born like that (spastic diplegia) in 1979. That’s just the way I am and chances are high that it won’t go away as long as I am living. Humanity has one thing in common and that is regardless of anything that separates us:
Everybody wants to be liked and loved for whom he or she is and not be rejected because of what he or she is not.

For me, it breaks down to that. It might be a naive take on the subject, but for me it’s that simple. I have found this article in my twitter feed some time ago and the same thing applies to disability just as well. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Amelia/accept-and-tolerate-my-gay-kid-thats-not-goodenough_b_3021002.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Any woman should at some point in her life move past the attraction to ‘bad boys’ and move towards the reduction of the likelihood of possible rejection. This is just a normal, healthy way to pursue. Excluding a devotee because he is attracted to me because of a physical disability is like rejecting a part of me and my identity. So why don’t we just yet live in peace happily ever after?!

At this point, a bunch of negative presumptions come in to play:

 

a) the generic cripple
· A cripple is supposed to be angry and bitter over his fate
· A cripple is supposed to be contagious, smelly and wear sweatpants all the time
· A cripple is supposed to be ugly and fat because he can’t move
· A cripple is supposed to be mentally retarded
· A cripple is supposed to live off social benefits and welfare
· A cripple is supposed to not leave the house
· A cripple is supposed to be sick and ill all the time
· A cripple is supposed to not have a life
· 
tbc
..
b) the generic devotee
· A devotee is supposed to try to get into my pants
· A devotee is supposed to stalk me
· A devotee is supposed to sexually exploit me
· A devotee is supposed to see my disability only
· A devotee is supposed to be a perverted creep
· A devotee is supposed to obsess over my alleged helplessness
· A devotee is supposed to be a feminist’s nightmare
· 
tbc

.
That doesn’t sound very attractive on both sides: it’s actually quite the opposite, it’s repulsive. Is this true or is this false? Some clichĂ©s might be true, some might be false. Some might be true for one person; some might be false for another person. Some might be true at one point in a person’s life and a person might have overcome it later on.
Some might be true for people that are not even a part of either group.

Those clichĂ©s and their corresponding social group are said to be correlated; however, they may or may not be the cause of one another. There is no way to immediately infer the existence of a causal relationship between the clichĂ©s and their corresponding social group. Actually, you will never know if you don’t LOOK CLOSER.

People actually like to meet to find out and that’s what dates are for. I have seen things and I have heard stories you couldn’t possibly write up. It’s disturbing and
it only hits me later now. I cannot just stay unaffected and watch this happen because it is heartbreaking for me.

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” – Mark Twain

It was the start of the summer and we fell in LOVE. Little did I know about his dev-ness. Not even about the existence of such a thing. Maybe he didn’t know either.
If I knew, it would not have mattered in the end. It would have made me LOVE him even more. I found out years later by coincidence on the Internet. I would have chosen him ALWAYS over any other guy back then. If I were able-bodied and if he were disabled, it would not have mattered in the end. We would both have been different, but it would not have MATTERED. We never made it. I have seen him countless times getting heavily drunk and wasted in the years that followed.

I see devotees gather in rather obscure-sounding age-restricted Yahoo groups, I am aware of the fact of devotees spending nights over nights on the Internet and collecting tons of images and ‘material’. There is nothing wrong with that and there will always be porn. Everyone is free to indulge in their fantasies. And I am not the one person that says it always has to be acted out. However, I have seen people get depressed and feel guilty and ashamed because of their desires. Never underestimate the power of denial and self- delusion. This has to stop. It shatters lives, it is sad and it is heartbreaking.

16 Comments

  1. Grant Riddle
    Jun 27, 2013

    Hello. Right on!

    It is near time for the subject to be discussed from the disabled woman’s perspective. The women can bring it out of the shadows. The men have been cowed into being worried about their feelings. You need to read the messages on the ASCOT webpages (Yahoo groups). And more women need to present their own attitudes regarding the positive effect that devs offer. The Fascination activity, now defunct, was in effect an effort to “socialize” the devs, and their meetings did a lot of good for the attendees.

    Lets read more of these accounts. Thanks.

    • Grant Riddle
      Mar 6, 2014

      Just a quick note that a new dissertation about devotees has been posted as a book on Amazon Kindle, related to the work of Christina the AmputeeOT. The title is “DeMystifying the Devotee.” It is available as an introduction for $0.00 for three days, then reverts to $0.99 per Amazon rules. A free Kindle reader for PC can be downloaded from Amazon Books.

      • Ruth Madison
        Mar 7, 2014

        8 pages and “devotee” is defined as only someone attracted to WOMEN who are AMPUTEES?

        Leaving out a whole lot of people’s experiences, aren’t you?

  2. Beverly Diehl
    Jun 27, 2013

    Thanks for sharing this. I would add another stereotype – either the cripple/devotee as this noble, long-suffering, selfless angel – kind of like the romanticized “noble savage” way that some portray Native Americans.

    There’s nothing wrong with depicting these people in a positive light – I like that – but please, let’s make them three-dimensional. Even let them be a jerk from time-to-time. This is one of the reasons I enjoy Ruth’s work, because her characters aren’t caricatures.

    • nercobla
      Jun 27, 2013

      Hello. I wrote this blog post b/c I found too many misconceptions that keep people from meeting in the first place. I tried to depict them in a NEUTRAL light. That was what I aimed at.
      It’s an option worth considering among others.
      I have met one devotee that became a self-loathing, neurotic and hysterical control freak over time who didn’t think very highly of himself anymore and actually told me that I could do ‘better than him’. I thought so, too, but not because of him being a dev but because of him being full of lies and misbehavior. He had a kind heart that was buried under too many secrets after having spent half of his life in a closet. That’s the point & the sad fact.

    • RuthMadison
      Jun 28, 2013

      So true! When I date a guy with a disability I hate when people call me an angel or saint…I’m just dating someone I’m attracted to! (And thanks for the compliment!)

      • Grant Riddle
        Aug 1, 2013

        Do you realize that by them calling you an ‘angel’ you were being desexualized, being separated from an actual sexual attraction emotion? You are fortunate. If the tables were turned, a man showing attention to a disabled woman would instantly be suspected of ulterior motives, and denounced as a pervert. That is why the dev men stay in their closet. Most amputee ‘support’ groups ban any such attention. And most such groups are controlled by non-amputee women.

    • D.O.S.E.
      Oct 4, 2013

      It’s a complicated matter. I think that it’s OK to use these sort of cliches in fiction as long as they are not the ONLY ones. Honestly though, crafting a character in three dimensions is a pretty good tactic. Most cliches are on dimensional, so going deeper can usually do a lot to reverse the damage.

  3. nercobla
    Jun 28, 2013

    Exactly. We should stop asking the question WHY we are attracted to someone and accept (or even embrace) that we ARE attracted.
    What’s the alternative? Hate on somebody? Certainly not 😉

    • Grant Riddle
      Aug 20, 2013

      Here again, the problem arises from the ‘social’ attitude of what is permissible regarding sexual attraction. Most of the devs that I have had conversations with are constantly concerned with ‘WHY’ they have those ‘strange’ feelings of attraction. That also make them hold back from making any actual connection, or approach, with a person they find attractive. And the women have been conditioned to automatically reject any such approach. That conditioning needs to be addressed and challenged. The women need to do that.

      • RuthMadison
        Aug 23, 2013

        Yes. I hope to start to change that self-obsessing with my books, but a lot of the dev acceptance should come through the people who have disabilities. I think we’re heading in that direction. Particularly as respectful devs come forward and become more vocal.

        • Grant Riddle
          Aug 27, 2013

          Yes, but those disabled that do speak up are shouted down by the ‘guardians’ of the handicapped.
          This is the first place I found that referred to devotee activity as an ‘ism.’ Previously it was a ‘philia.’ Good that you have the distinction recognized. Keep up the good work.

  4. Devushka
    Jun 29, 2013

    As a female devotee who is attracted to men with disabilities, and as a long-time feminist who works professionally for a feminist organization, my take on this would be that most initial attraction is physical attraction, whether to a person’s disability, a woman’s breasts, a man’s “six-pack”, or just a great smile. But physical attraction alone cannot sustain a relationship. There must be common interests, similar sociopolitical views, similar tastes in music or films, or whatever qualities are most important to you in a partner that will make your relationship work. Compatibility is complex and physical attraction is only a small part of the whole. And respect is important too. It is possible to have a relationship between equals regardless of different physical abilities when your attitude is one of equality, trust, and respect for one another rather than power over. And self-respect is also important. Without it, you can self-destruct, as in the article above. But I firmly believe that healthy relationships can exist and thrive between devotees and people with disabilities. Mine certainly has for more than 5 years now.

  5. nercobla
    Jun 30, 2013

    @Devushka: I totally agree w/ you on all terms.
    And that’s why I reached out b/c one simple thing tends to get horribly overlooked in all the ongoing discussions: it is about findings someone that matches (whatever that individually means) – a most difficult endeavor for anyone 😉
    I refuse to believe that it’s all about some kinky, twisted, warped version of submissive ‘love’. And I will always believe that sexuality is a private matter between two people only.
    That’s all I ever wanted to say on ‘devoteeism’. And thanks, Ruth!

  6. NMeda
    Aug 6, 2013

    Thanks for sharing your story. Keep it up!

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