Freak Fucker: Stereotypical Representations of Sexuality in British Disability Art

Ronda Gowland


Political in aesthetic, using the social model of disability, artists have reflected on the portrayal of 'positive' images of disability debating society's depiction of stereotypical images. Whilst some disability artists now reconsider the need for theoretical distinctions between 'positive' and 'negative' images of disability which has been argued to confirm good and bad norms of disabled people, many have reclaimed stereotypical images in their work in order to confront prejudicial social attitudes. This reclamation of stereotypical representations has never been more confrontational or controversial than in the visual imagery of sexuality in disability art. Analysing select works from disability artists such as Ann Whitehurst's 'Wheelchairbound' (1993), Jo Pearson's seminal film 'Freak Fucking Basics' (1995), as well as Ju Gosling's multi media piece 'My Not-So-Secret Life as a Cyborg' (circa 2001), this paper critiques their representations of these adverse stereotypes. Viewed as 'asexual', deviant 'freaks', objects of 'fetish' and voyeurism within private and political spheres, disability artists seek to redress the governance of disabled people's sexuality redefining dominant myths that perpetuate preconceived notions of 'acceptable' desirability.

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Copyright (c) 2002 Ronda Gowland

Beginning with Volume 36, Issue No. 4 (2016), Disability Studies Quarterly is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license unless otherwise indicated. 

Disability Studies Quarterly is published by The Ohio State University Libraries in partnership with the Society for Disability Studies.

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ISSN: 2159-8371 (Online); 1041-5718 (Print)