Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A new post over at The Feminist Wire

I love that I have a thoughtful new essay over at one of my favorite feminist sites, The Feminist Wire, and anybody who clicks over here from there will learn my thoughts about eating a 3/4 pound muffin for a snack.

"That Alison Piepmeier, she is so insightful!"

I'm really honored to have been chosen as one of the people to be part of a disability studies forum happening over at The Feminist Wire.  My essay is called "My Place in This Conversation."  As always, I'd love any thoughts you all have!


  1. Hi Alison,

    I'd love to hear more about your forthcoming book "The Good Mother: Confronting Impossible Choices and Changing the Game" and would be happy to share my story with you...

  2. It is fitting that Alison opens her essay with a reference to her blind spot. It works as an instructional tool for her readers as what follows are her perplexing and blindly uncritical positions on the role of termination of t21 and feminism.

    This work by Alison holds fast to the type of feminism where the hegamonic middle class values are presented as the normative, and strangely ignores a major organizing principle of acknowledging class as a primary force in women’s choices. This is completely lacking in this article, other articles by Alison, and except for the barest reference to the books she read, in her scholarly disability studies article.

    This writer could stand to a remedial class on fact checking and using current sources. As a woman and scholar who also had a daughter with down syndrome, her articles undermine the DS community with sloppy scholarship and far-fetched claims.

    She writes about not wanting to be a spokesperson for her daughter, yet she advances the idea that her daughter may want a college education (just like mommy!). Notice in her description of the exchange by her activist friend of her daughter going to college there is not a whiff of agency given to her daughter. It’s a foregone conclusion that is preferred path.

    She writes that mainstream understand of DS hasn’t kept us with radical activism. What evidence is provided? Not one sentence of it. Not one link. Again, her blind spot of speaking for women with her voice instead of giving a voice to those who did terminate. Notice she uses quotes for the activist friend who suggests her child be in the miniscule percent of DS students who go to college. Alison sees it fit not to give a voice for the reader to even know what type of language a person who terminated said, a strange interlocutionary move.

    Nor does she bring up any type of sociolgicial factor in the women who were told that children with DS are institutionalized. To saw it does not happen is a willful disregard of what routinely happens to children and adults whose families cannot afford their care; while the shape of institutions have changed – gone are the days of the sanatorium frame of institutions – they ARE institutionalized by foster-cares, group homes, early intervention policies. Why has Alison not mentioned this.

    Perhaps it is the title of radical she should unpack more deeply. How is it radical to call Skotko a “hero” when he acknowledges his research on perceptions of people with DS relied on information that skewed towards those families who make more than 100k?

    Or how does one perform their “invested” attitude by citing studies in a 2013 article that 90% of parents who learn their child has DS pre-natal aborts (Alisons charleston city paper article on Robert Saylor, pub. 2013) casually omits the study does a literature review of termination rates with a lower range that was published long before in 2012 (Natoli et al). Is false scholarship radical activism?

    And her dark statement that people don’t know what to do with the genetic information they have when learning their child has a t21 make-up. It seems that by invoking termination they know exactly what to do. Alison, why would parents NOT know what to do? Do you know better? Why are there no references to the very real economic pressure one families, especially women, who may not be able to handle the economic demands that come with DS.

    This unfortunate approach to DS has always frustrated me. The lived experience in Alison’s eyes seem quite narrow. As a feminist myself, it reminds me of white middle-class women speaking about having the opportunity to work out of the home in the 40s, 50s, & 60s when we all know that poor, immigrant women have always worked.

    It allows for the blind spot of an ending to accept intellectual disabilities as an “embraceable form of human diversity.” Her embraceable form presents in the sports equivalent of dressage, polo, and regatta racing.