My Reflection on Body Experiment

By Dongwhee Kim

Since I’ve shared my experiment on challenging my daily movement last week, I’d like to share what I’ve learned and found during this experiment. My first exploration of this analysis reflects the strategy I’ve used as a way of disrupting my daily movement. To start with, I was motivated to start this experiment after several COMM 190 lectures on how our world perceives disabled people as ‘disable.’ I’ve learned that one should not distinguish disabled people as socially disadvantaged groups, but who has less access to the environment which actually makes them disabled. Again, I mainly focused on challenging my daily ‘granted’ body movement that has often been unnoticed for my entire life. As I was thinking about what might be the best way to challenge such mobilized idea, I had noticed how crucial our body movement is and yet always goes unnoticed in our lives. My goal was to challenge the most frequently used parts of our bodies, such as vision, arms, legs, and communicative tools. To be honest, disrupting myself from using such what it seemed so obvious in my daily life was more than a physical challenge; it was painful and frustrating as I was able to experience what it feels to be bodily disabled, even it did not last for a short amount of time. For instance, when I was wearing a sleep mask and acting ‘awkward’ (regarding people’s standard behavior of myself), I’ve noticed how people around me tried to ‘fix’ my movement rather than understand or accept me the way I was. They’d force me to walk towards the direction they want, speak, and ask me to stay in the room. At that moment, I’ve felt having a disabled body is not right or normal to the society.

What I’ve learned from this experiment that dualism, the term that sets people apart from being disabled and not, creates differentiation within social world that seems so obvious among people. Although people seemed to share common burden together whether it’s visible or invisible, such as yielding their seats on public bus or creating an audio description for an equal access to visually impaired people, discrimination always exists within us. Such unnoticed stereotypical idea forces bodily disabled people to a sub social world in which they experience struggles every day. Because being disabled is often viewed as somewhat abnormal in our society, people tend to practice series of attempt to either set it right (diagnosing or fixing their disabled bodies). However, through my experiment, I’ve noticed that bodily being disabled makes no difference unless someone who has been mobilized to ‘think’ that it is. Sadly, it’s the society that has taught us the ethos that whoever has less access been categorized as disable.

As I’ve been experiencing a life of being disabled, although it only lasted for a short amount of time, I began to ask myself who should have access under what condition? I’ve found that such argument to accessibility also links to my final project because the audio description often decides the extent of accessibility to visually impaired viewers. One can relatively believe that visually impaired people have ‘less’ access to the film than those who are not. Through my both experiments (creating a revised AD and challenging my body), I’ve learned that our world is designed for majority. Cinemas are designed for people who can see, feel, and hear to fully enjoy the pleasure of cinematic arts whereas the roads are designed for people who can drive. Again, it’s the society that creates this dualism between “Us” and “Them.”