Beauty & Fashion have different meanings for everyone. Today on the blog I’m sharing what it means to mean as a woman with a disability, which for this post title I used wheelchair girl because it’s shorter. Anyway beauty & fashion don’t really devote much time to considering people with disabilities, at least not until recently, so I thought it would be great to share my thoughts on the industry and give more insight into why I started this blog.
Disabled, Special Needs, there are so many labels for people with disabilities and because of the way society sees us they have negative connotations. someone said to me when most people think of someone with a disability, they don’t think of people who go to work or school, date or have families of their own, or go out and have with friends and live their lives just like anyone else.
What Beauty Means To Me:
Life teaches you that you be a beautiful person makeup wise and be not so nice on the inside, I mean it’s the basis of Disney’s Beauty and The Beast after all. We’re taught from a young age how we treat people matters.
When it comes to the more common way of thinking about beauty, as a woman with a disability, those thoughts are not so simply put. When I was first doing research for my blog I discovered some women with disabilities don’t bother too much with makeup for a few reasons. I learned they don’t think it will work with their disability or believe that people will only focus on their disability, not them as people, which if you’re nodding your head you know unfortunately at times it’s true.
When I talked to them about accessibility they couldn’t see how it applied to beauty because makeup goes on your face. This statement bothered me because for me it isn’t that simple. There are so many ways that I can think of accessibility when it comes to makeup, for example, I buy foundations with a pump dispenser because it’s easier for me control how much product comes out of the bottle versus a foundation with a dropper or screw-on top because there’s a much greater chance I’ll spill the product wasting it and money.
In order to apply products like lipstick and mascara, I like the smaller applicators because it gives me more control of the application and gives me less product at a time. This helps me to avoid applying too much mascara for the clumpy look and accidentally overdrawing my lips and ending up with a look that is just not pretty, Accessibility matters in beauty.
People don’t see the woman in the wheelchair, all she is is her disability and nothing else, whatever it is. She is not thought of as beautiful by society standards and I think that since we don’t see women with disabilities in the media at least we never used to until recently it affects how we think of ourselves. Here’s the thing: I’m not here to tell you, you have to wear makeup or how to wear it. If you want to do fresh face looks and show off your natural beauty, great, if you want to do minimal makeup looks, regardless of what event you’re going to, go for it. Finally, if you want to go full glam at nine a.m., I’d love to see the looks you come up with, the point is you should be able to have products you can help you use to do it.
Beauty to me means being able to express yourself your way with makeup or not in a way that brings your inner beauty and personality out for the rest of us to see.
What Fashion Means To Me
Fashion means to me something similar to beauty, the clothes we choose are a form of self-expression that gives those around use quick insight into our personalities without having to say a single word. I can’t tell you how many times someone has come up to me to compliment my accessories or my outfit and as a person who is used to conversations being about my disability in some way, fashion is way more fun, that’s the power of fashion
As with beauty, when it comes to fashion women with disabilities aren’t really considered, at least until recently. In 2017, Tommy Hilfiger and Zappos launched adaptive clothing lines named Tommy Adaptive and Zappos Adaptive. Aerie has even created some adaptive underwear. While I love the concept and know how much it’s needed, I can’t truly get behind it because of the name of the brand.
I know, not completely supporting a brand because of a name, it seems a little crazy, but the fact is we are all taught from a young age that words matter, so why not create something unique to signify the brand? Why does it have to be called adaptive?
Fashion to me is a form of expressing ourselves that like makeup, if you choose to wear makeup that is, requires no words. It’s an insight into your personality and as I said before, a great conversation starter.
Beauty and fashion are not as important as some things especially with everything happening with the virus, yes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t matter. The clothes we wear and the makeup we put on are forms of self-expression. No, you don’t have to follow the latest trends or go full glam with your makeup, but you should have the option to if you want it. You should be able to wear the latest trends you see in magazines or wear pieces that match your style whether you have a disability or not.
Beauty and fashion have become more inclusive over the past few years, but there is still a long way to go. I wonder if other brands are going to create fashion lines for people with disabilities and if so what will they name them? In the past few years beauty campaigns have featured women with disabilities like Steph Aiello in Ulta Beauty’s campaign and a few years ago Benefit Cosmetics hired a new ambassador, Kate, she was a beauty pageant winner, she has down syndrome. It will be interesting to see what other moves these industries make when it comes to disability inclusion.