Fit Enough to Dismantle Ableism?

Fitness Friday. Fit enough to dismantle ableism?

Living in the society we do, we’ve all inherited -isms, racism, sexism, classism, sizism, ableism, among others. We all were exposed to and ingested these poisons, most of us unintentionally. It is also on us as individuals and communities to dismantle these.

Ableism is “the process of favoring….and building the world around a mostly imagined, idealized body while discriminating against the bodies perceived to move, see, hear, process, operate, look, or need differently from that vision” (-Rebekah Taussig). It is the ranking of bodies by ability or capacity to work (the mostimportantthing to many), it is the shame felt for being different or not measuring up against the BS hierarchy, it is the presumption that the work to match the ideal falls on the disabled person (verses the society she/he/they live in), it is the idea that the disabled person would choose to not be disabled (because disabled is labeled as deficit), it is assuming that those with disability are asexual or can’t get pregnant, it is a systems problem and gaps in care/housing/access, it is exceptionalization and objectification (see “inspiration porn” ) of those that are disabled, and so much more. Ableism can is not just external but internalized as well.

And here’s something else to consider, in case you need to make this personal enough to care (don’t be that person but, just in case): we will all age, get injured, get sick (temporarily, progressively, or even permeability). We will be exposed to changes in our bodies and abilities, in some form or another. So ableism may not impact you directly now, but chances are it will at some point.

We need a reimagining of the body and people – as is true in other arenas, diversity in ability is a blessing. We all learn from it, challenging our perceptions and priorities (ex is physical work and over work really the most important measure of worth?) and it doesn’t need erasure (ex. From Taussig’s book, “I don’t even notice your chair”, this parallels the paradoxically racist statement of not seeing color).

The limited acceptability surrounding bodies and capabilities are harmful, personally and collectively.

How have you confronted ableism? Your own or others?

Taussig’s book does a phenomenal job of discussing ableism, internalized and external. I highly recommend you check it out as well as her IG page @sitting_pretty Other ideas to help on your dismantling journey, check out these podcasts: and

Happy fit Friday, y’all. And good luck with the heavy lifting of dismantling harmful structures 💪🏼💪🏽💪🏾💪🏿

#witnessourfitness #fitnessfriday #dismantleableism #ftheisms #requiredreading #communitycare



Written by Dr. Allison Mitch, PT (DPT); copyright protected, please cite accordingly.  Originally posted to social media on 12/11/20.    Image is mine.

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