Fixated on ability

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42 Scopus citations


This essay examines the ubiquitous use of ableist metaphors in contemporary feminist discourses and outlines two particular ways in which feminist theorists use disability to locate objects of remediation: first, the construction of disability in opposition to knowledge and second, the use of disability to highlight the subtle workings of power and privilege. In addition, we critique ableist notions of mobility and movement, which are used to define and imagine liberation, resistance, and transformation. Because many rhetorical uses of disability reinscribe normative and exclusionary paradigms within otherwise libratory feminist theories, we assert the need for new metaphors and frames of reference to more adequately theorize multiplicity and to more fully realize social transformation. Transforming the ways we use language in order to more fully realize its paradoxes and playfulness will, we argue, yield more intersectional analyses and more fruitful political coalitions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-140
Number of pages21
JournalProse Studies
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2005


  • Ableism
  • Disability studies
  • Discourse
  • Feminist theory
  • Metaphor
  • Rhetoric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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