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Blog - Dolly Sen

The Double Bind of Being Disabled & The Glory of Cutting Those Shackles


I know social media is essential if you want to raise your profile as a creative. I spend no more than 15 minutes a day on social media to protect both my mental health and because time is precious to me and I want to squeeze as much into the rest of my life as possible.

I learned how to be more focussed on social media thanks to a one-to-one artist development session on social media run by Joe Turnbull. I would highly recommend a session if you need extra help in this area. I opened up an Instagram account on his recommendation and it has really helped drive new people to my work. Most of the sales of my work and new opportunities have come from Instagram.

Some things I post on social media get the average amount of likes, but some things like my Mr Men series go wild when it comes to likes on social media. But a thing I posted not long ago on twitter and instagram blew me away with the amounts of likes. Thus far, it has received over 2000 likes on instagram and over 6500 likes on twitter. You can safely say it was something that rang true for a lot of disabled people.

What I created was a Venn Diagram with two overlapping circles.

Disability Venn Diagram with two overlapping circles. The top circle says 'Not Disabled Enough' and has a corresponding list with things like: thrown off benefits, seen as scrounger, etc. The bottom circle says 'Too Disabled' and its list says: No ventilator if you get Covid, seen as burden, etc. The overlapping middle says: the right amount of disabled and is linked to Inspiration Porn

Disability Venn Diagram by Dolly Sen

I realise there is a spelling mistake but no matter. The Venn diagram represents the double bind most disabled are in. Double binds are situations in which a person is confronted with two irreconcilable demands or a choice between two undesirable courses of action. If you take your cue from society as a disabled person, you are well and truly fucked. No wonder disabled people feel alienated, hated and depressed about this situation. Any normopath that comes up with this bullshit in my physical presence doesn’t get away with it. I land on their ignorance really hard and use the contradictions in the diagram as my weapons. I have a couple of invisible disabilities, and have been told that ‘I don’t look disabled’ many times. I am not polite in my disgust for these people and let them know it.

More importantly I don’t want disabled people to internalise people’s or society’s bullshit. Because it is bullshit. Some parts of the  external world are inaccessible but you can’t let your heart be inaccessible.  The bastards would love you to take things to heart and be passive or dead. I say fuck that. Have your glory. Have your joy. Have your rage. Have it, it’s yours. The idiots are trying to hide it from you because they know its power. Steve Biko said ‘The most potent weapon the oppressors have is the mind of the oppressed.’ If you want to be polite about, say thanks but no thanks for your bullshit. But I will say: try to stop me, I dare you. Let me laugh at your hard work to try make me hate myself. The beautiful rampage of my life will blow you away.


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Richard Downes
8 days ago

Its another like from me then

8 days ago

Wow, Dolly, this is right on the nail! And of course some (perhaps many) of us shift constantly back and forth across the three groups according to the whims of politicians, media and public.

Mike Llywelyn Cox
8 days ago

I’ve copied the wonderful words of your last (position on the page!) paragraph Dolly and I ‘ll post them on my Facebook page with full attribution.

Joe Turnbull
Joe Turnbull
7 days ago

Oh wow, thanks for the shout out Dolly, I’m flattered. I saw this when it hadn’t gone viral yet and thought at the time it might go into the stratosphere as it was so on the money.

I wish the typo had read: ‘independence twatted’ lol.

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