OKAY HOLD ON LET ME CHECK MY PRIVILEGE: Hey [Content note: Body-shaming]
That isn’t what I meant to say, and I apologize if that’s how I worded it. I was trying to list some reasons why it CAN be hard, it wasn’t supposed to be like “this thing ALWAYS makes it hard.” The example I used was a specific one that an autistic person listed elsewhere. And… I’m not really sure what to say about ‘the vast majority of people who don’t bathe’. Because everyone I’ve met in public who seemed like they don’t bathe has been homeless, and that’s my experience. And it’s also my experience with my own life, and a good portion of my mentally ill friends. It’s common enough among mentally ill people that it shows up in diagnostic criteria.
I just don’t find it very useful to say ‘well not ALL disabled people are smelly and gross’ when it would be better if people would be less judgmental and shitty about the hygiene issues. I mean, the former statement is obviously true! But it comes off more like someone is trying to peel off a bullseye target and throw it on someone else, when we should be disarming our opponents. Or in other words, trying to sound like a more acceptable disabled person, when we should be trying to broaden people’s views of what’s acceptable. Does that make sense?
Issues with hygiene are not a universal problem for disabled people, but it’s enough of one for enough of us that it’d be nice if people acknowledged that instead of harping about their right to not smell you or whatever. No one says you can’t be bothered by it, just don’t treat people like shit.
thanks, that’s a bit clearer. I’m going to go off cultural/geographic differences here - I’m in Asia, where personal hygiene is a pretty big thing, and that plus the climate means that I don’t know anyone personally who doesn’t bathe at least once a day, unless they’re being lazy or trying to make some kind of statement. People stink fairly often because of the climate, and these are usually regular people with no difficulty taking a shower. (and even when you are depressed, the amount of stink that would be otherwise generated is usually enough to drive even the most depressed person into the shower.) When others point it out, it’s very often meant as helpful advice rather than insult, and said advice is often taken. If someone told me I stink I’d just go shower a second time, and wouldn’t think of it as body-shaming in any way. The main reason why I don’t regularly shower twice a day is partly laziness and partly not wanting to waste water.
We have close to no homeless people (there’s subsidised government housing available), and while I’m aware that many of them probably don’t get to bathe often, I doubt any decent person would think of insulting them about it because that would be evidently mean. The same would go if they are aware that the person might have some kind of disability, but even then, it would still be meant as helpful advice, and I think that - among people who get criticised for it - the cases of people not showering because of laziness far outnumber those who don’t shower because of invisible disabilities and limitations. I mean, homeless/very poor people usually look that way, and maybe it’s just where I live, but I’ve never seen anyone shout, “hey, you smell!” at a homeless person, and if I did I’m pretty sure most people wouldn’t think too well of them.
and if you can’t shower or have problems doing so because of solid reasons, then if you just said so, most people would accept that and stop criticising you for it. If they don’t, then they’re jerks. But the vast majority of such criticism is given out with the assumption that the target is fully capable of taking a shower, and if someone doesn’t meet that assumption, they’d be excluded. Such that I don’t see how the solution is to stop people from ever criticising someone else’s body odour, because in most cases something can be done about it, and other people’s comfort is important too. I know I wouldn’t want people keeping silent if I smell really bad and am disrupting their peace; I’d much rather they said something, and I think the same is true for most others.