Move Over, The Mighty

“You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting” – William, A Knight’s Tale

There’s been plenty said about The Mighty in the months since it was founded. I don’t have the spoons for a complete essay on their behaviour, so I’ll list and point and link to some other folks who’ve done a wonderful job of it.

The Mighty is not built by people with disabilities; it’s built on the stories of people with disabilities. It’s built on the pain of our experiences, but seen through the eyes of others and explained through their own personal lenses.

They are out to promote the sop that people with disabilities have specifically asked them to refrain from posting because they disempower us – namely, the telling of our stories by another, the use of inspiration porn, and posts that are designed to tug your heart and jerk your tears.

Meriah at A Little Moxie

So. This is not a site for or by disabled people. This is a site about disabled people. – Extranjera at 21 + 21 + 21 = ?

Where are disability pride, disability culture, and creation of new value in “facing disease, disorder and disability?” Where is empowerment in “improve?” – Extranjera at 21 + 21 + 21 = ?

The Mighty’s content reassures nondisabled people that, for them, enjoying stories about disabled people is truly morally commendable – Emma Pretzel at Lemon Peel

And always, always, the term “special needs” is used. Which of our needs are special, exactly? The need to eat? The need to go to the bathroom? The need to feel comfortable in our environment? The need to be treated with basic human decency? Painting our needs as “special” reinforces segregation and pity. Disabled people as a group almost universally reject the term “special needs”, and the fact that The Mighty continues using it says to me that you either have not considered the implications of that term or you simply do not care. – Cara Liebowitz at That Crazy Crippled Chick

I was chased out of the Mighty Writer’s group. Why? Because I didn’t agree with the tone. I was verbally abused, chastised, and torn down by the parents. Guess what? They’ve won. They’ve chased out a writer with disabilities. I hope they feel good about themselves. I hope they have warm, fuzzy feelings for taking over yet another platform. – Nora at A Heart Made Fullmetal

I am 100% in agreement that the stigma and ableism perpetuated by groups and organizations like The Mighty are harmful to the Disability Community, because they are misrepresenting ableism as advocacy. – Leah Kelley at 30 Days of Autism

Oh and then there’s the fact that they don’t pay the people that they request content from.

Instead, as a professional writer and an editor who works with a press specializing in disability-related texts, I want to point out a deeper problem The Mighty has: it does not pay its writers. Specifically, it does not pay its disabled writers – members of the very population it claims to support. – Autistic Academic

So what do we do? Well, today I was approached on Twitter by a
Dale Reardon, who wants to make a new publication by and for the disabled communities.

My goal is to provide a news, opinion, information and discussion website for people living with a disability. Created by people living with a disability. – My Disability Matters has a survey so anyone interested can put forward their ideas for what they would like such a site to provide. The site will cater primarily to an Australian audience, but I have hopes that even if it doesn’t expand to regularly serve a wider audience, it will serve as a good example of Disability News done right.

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