The way humans perceive disability is….confusing. In the real world, able-bodied people never think of people with disabilities as cute. Sometimes, sure, the news will profile us as a puff piece, but generally speaking, people with disabilities are never considered “cute.” So, what’s with the onslaught of viral love for disabled animals lately?
Call it a trend, or maybe a new revelation, but the masses have discovered (thanks to viral videos) that they absolutely love animals in wheelchairs. It started with cats and dogs in wheelchairs, and now even goldfish and baby pigs, like Chris P. Bacon from Florida, are getting in on the action. Animals in wheelchairs have become almost as popular as that stupid Gangam dance. They’ve fallen into the “OMG” news category (along with the latest royal they’ve unearthed in a British parking lot). And I must say, for disability to become cute is weird.
But it’s not completely a bad thing. Let’s start with the good stuff that comes from animal in wheelchair videos being consider cute. #1: It spreads awareness of kindness to animals in need, that even they deserve some kind of mobility enhancement (of course they do). I’m always surprised how fast animals pick up using modified wheelchairs. And #2: Even I’ll admit it’s fascinating watching these animals using said wheelchairs. It shows animals can be smarter than we think.
While I’m sure my being disabled is the main reason I’m feeling more unnerved about this than the average Joe, but does anyone else feel this way? Or am I being too sensitive? I must admit, these videos’ popularity does say something about us when, by the millions, we click and share these videos. It shows we have a heart, that we’re not all evil.
But wouldn’t it be great if videos of people with disabilities got just as many clicks, and became just as viral as disabled animals videos? Ah silly humans. We love being entertained. But think of all the minds that could be changed if we were able to make this happen.
I guess that leaves it up to us to start creating better wheelchair videos (like the wheelchair bungee girl), so we too can get internet famous. Maybe we’ll never be considered as cute as a kitten running around in a wheelchair, but hey, if our issues got as much attention as a wiener dog doing laps in a wheelchair, the people we could reach would be transformative.
What are your feelings about animal in wheelchair videos going viral?