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Chiara Bordi: ableism and how not to talk to a person with a disability

It is such a subtle form of discrimination that it is often not recognized “why”, he says Chiara Bordi – often theableism hides behind a compliment like “you're very good” or “you are very brave”». The actress and model, who, after the success of the first series, is about to return First with Prism 2is a guest at Disability Pride in Turin, an event that brings to the fore the needs of disabled and neurodivergent people. Chiara, recently also alongside Raul Bova in fiction The Fantastic 5in fact it has one motor disability (he lost a leg following a car accident), and she was there first girl with a prosthesis to reach the Miss Italy final ranking third. «As a definition of ableism – explains Chiara, who recently held a powerful monologue on the topic in Hyenas – I would indicate the widespread way of thinking that a body with disabilities is worth less than another standard: what a person with disabilitiesMeaning what, has less value than those without disabilities».

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It is a form of prejudice which is found in all social groups and is indeed very rooted in society. Fortunately, the younger generations are much more sensitive and attentive: Bordi cites the set of as an example Prism where “the average age was under 25 and the environment was particularly inclusive”. The same director Ludovico Bessegatoin addition to having made use of the advice of disabled people, «he asked himself listening of what my point of view was and my needs, I really appreciated it.”

The result is that Prism is an extremely believable series, devoid of common places on disability. In fact, another problem regarding ableism and directly connected to it is that, in the media but unfortunately also in real life, the representation of disabled people is distorted, since the narrative moves through clichés and interpret disabled characters on the screen they are called actors without disabilities.

The term ableismhas explained Marina Cuollo, disability rights activist and author in a recent talk at the festival Mind the Gap, «it was born already in the 80s in the Anglo-Saxon world (ableism), but in Italy the word began to be used only a few years ago.” In fact, Treccani officially includes it in the dictionary of the Italian language in 2022 (also following the approval of a specific amendment to the anti-discrimination bill under consideration in the Italian Parliament since 2020). Cuollo underlines how ableism is pollute also all environments of Work: «when, without even knowing you, others decide what you can and cannot dodespite your real professional skills which actually come belittled. They have devaluing expectations regarding your work and your skills, so they automatically exclude you from the work context (for example: you don't take part in meetings, meetings, project presentations, etc.) because it is taken for granted that you are not able to sustain certain rhythmsin short do that job». Chiara Bordi also highlights that «today, unfortunately, there are many implicit and involuntary forms of ableism, and they are even on the increase. Nello disabled sportsfor example, ableism triggers inspiration porn. Which often translates to “if the person (who is missing a limb, or has a chronic disabling pathology or other) plays sports in that way, then I have nothing to complain about” and that disabled person becomes a model, an inspiration.”

Instead, in the daily life What does ableism look like? «Definitely – replies Bordi – with phrases like “I respect you because you go out with friends”meaning an implicit “instead of staying at home feeling sorry for yourself.”or “Yes, you are strong, in your place I don't know what I would do.”. Or again, adds Cuollo, «a typical ableist phase is “I don't know how you manage (to bear your state). You are really brave.”».

How do you fight ableism? «Talking about it – Chiara Bordi is certain of it – because ableism is born fromignorance and fromunawarenesshe expresses by speaking for stock phrases which for years and years have always been the same. Luckily, today many people with disabilities have started to demand their own rights to openly discuss this and other forms of discrimination. I believe that the new generations are becoming aware of issues relating to disability and that the advent of social media has contributed to increasing this awareness.”

«Ableism – concludes Chiara Bordi – is often involuntary and I am convinced that people do not exercise it maliciously. However, we must learn to recognize it, so that society can finally adapt to the different needs of the individual and the opposite no longer happens, that is, the person with a disability must adapt to a social reality that tends to “think” the world only for people without problems. Give everyone the same opportunities: this for me is true inclusiveness, overcoming any form of ableism.”


Source: Vanity Fair

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