I’ve gotten some of the strangest “targeted advertising” showing up in apps. Dating sites for a different sexual orientation than I am (Christina, you’ve been single FOR. EVER. Why not try a different tack?) Those lewd-looking items with seemingly normal names, like “coffee maker.”
More often, though, the ads are creepily spot-on. I just took a scroll and see a dog ramp, whiskey, and perennials being presented to me.
A specific item that’ll logically come up is the fibromyalgia awareness T-shirts. I’ve seen several variations in ads and also being worn by people on the forums I belong to. They’re not really for me. I honestly don’t typically wear shirts with sayings on them, though I appreciate reading other people’s clever and amusing tees.
A few of the fibro shirts I am adamantly against. Here are a couple. One reads: “I have fibromyalgia. I don’t have the energy to pretend I like you today.” The other reads: “I don’t look sick? You don’t look stupid. Looks can be deceiving. / Fibromyalgia Awareness.”
What I Don’t Like About Them
- They’re defensive. They are starting a type of conversation on the defense. While defense is the typical response to an attack, it’s also a response to guilt. I’m not guilty of fibromyalgia. I just happen to have it.
- They’re aggressive, even mean. If I’m to wear a shirt for awareness, which is representing everyone who has my condition, I do not want to represent us all as mean, aggressive people. That’s negative, inaccurate, and stigma-feeding.
- You get back what you put out. I don’t want to get back what these are putting out.
- You get what you expect from people. I don’t want to get what these shirts are expecting of others.
- Specific to the shirt that reads, “You don’t look stupid”: As our society progresses into one of more inclusion, we are learning the painful histories of certain words and working to eliminate them from our rhetoric. “Stupid” is a harmful word that has been used to describe people with certain disabilities. I am here to advocate for all people with disabilities, not just people who have the same one as I.
What I Do Like
- I like Snoopy.
- I like to teach that we do “pretend” to be better than we feel, and we do feel worse than we look. Check out this article I wrote on passing: What “Passing” Means to a Disabled Person