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Nina Muehlemann is doing a PhD in English Literature on ‘positive’ representation of disability in mainstream culture and Disability Culture. In her blog, she writes about her research, about disability in the media and in art and the gap between mainstream and Disability Culture.

Hamburger Queen: Where fat politics and disability politics meet – and have a party!

16 April 2014

Blog

me winning Burger Queen in 2011. Also pictured are Gloria Swansong, who won the 2012 contest, contestant Bea Sweet and host Scottee

This month, ‘Hamburger Queen’, a beauty contest for fat people, is in its final run. Dreamed up by performance artist Scottee, the contest is part beauty pageant satire, part platform for chubby people. Contestants have to show off their fabulous outfits in a ‘fat trend’ round, their cooking or baking skills in the ‘fat taste’ round, and, last but not least, prove their fat talent. In the past four years, this round has incorporated anything from comedy,...

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The Light Princess - a modern (feminist?) fairy-tale with an outdated perception of disability

13 November 2013

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the light princess is slaying a dragon

 When I heard that the glorious Tori Amos was attached to a musical, which reworked a Scottish fairy tale called ‘The Light Princess’, I was thrilled - Amos’ enchanting, bewitching and very often slightly unsettling melodies seemed like the perfect fit for a modern fairy tale, and fairy tales and the myths they create, perpetuate and question have always held a strong fascination over me. On many levels, ‘The Light Princess’, which is on at the National...

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“Ah, better to get a normal fella who can act crippled” - thoughts on Daniel Radcliffe in ‘The Cripple of Inishmaan’

1 July 2013

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Daniel Radcliffe in the Cripple of Inishmaan

I’ve got a bit of a crush on Daniel Radcliffe. Not only because he can ride a broomstick like no one else and is friends with Dumbledore. I think his acting is wonderfully understated and, more importantly, he has come across as utterly modest, charming and funny in every interview I could get my hands on. When I realised that he would star in a West End play, I was in heaven. Finally I would get the chance to indulge my inner fangirl! The name of said play? ‘The Cripple of...

Comments: 3

Homely and magical: The Southbank Centre's Festival of Neighbourhood

2 June 2013

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colourful wheelbarrows at the southbank

It is Friday morning at 9.20, and I’m invited to the Southbank Centre’s press preview of their Festival of Neighbourhood. The all-summer long celebration, running form the 1st of June till the end of September, is the third of a series of summer festivals that the Southbank Centre has put on together with MasterCard, after 2011’s Festival of Britain and 2012’s Festival of the World. As I am early, I have a quick stroll through the site – I know it fairly well, as...

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Thoughts on the WOW festival

10 March 2013

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WOW festival logo

This week I went to several events of the Women of the World festival at the Southbank Centre in London. I saw Claire Cunningham’s Ménage A Trois for the second time and a Q and A with Claire Cunningham, The WOW edition of CripTease, two very interesting talks that focused either on female queer identity, trans identity and gender or on fat. In the later, the lovely Dr Charlotte Cooper took part in, who I got to know because we both participated in the same mock beauty pageant for...

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‘Undateables' is back -and still gets it all wrong

10 January 2013

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media photo of the contestants in the Channel 4 game show

Channel 4’s ‘Undateables’ goes into season two. ‘Undateables’, despite its title, wants to come across as politically correct, respectful, sympathetic – treating its ‘extraordinary singletons’ as if they were regular folks. But, it seems to suggest to an assumed nondisabled audience, really disabled people are not the same as everyone else. Instead of including them in a regular dating show or of deeming some nondisabled people as...

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‘A bizarre silver stocking’ and the limits of mainstream beauty

23 November 2012

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A screenshot of Viktoria's picture and the caption

Viktoria Modesta: Fashionista, model, singer, nightclub icon, amputee. I have come across Viktoria Modesta many times ever since I moved to London  - I attended the same club nights as her, seen her perform her music, saw a beautiful photograph of her and one of her custom prosthetic legs at the Spare Parts (It is now hanging in our living room). Like many other people, I was glued to my TV screen when she performed as the ‘Snow Queen’ at the Paralympic Closing Ceremony....

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Disability, Food and Reality: A Blind Cook Wins Masterchef US

22 October 2012

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photo of blind US masterchef winner Christine Ha

This summer, disability was everywhere. The most surprising super-crip pop-up was that of Christine Ha in the American version of Masterchef. Ha has an auto-immune condition that caused her to become blind at the age of 19. Now 33, Ha came, cooked and won Masterchef US. First presented to us, Ha is all heroic super-crip, trying hard to overcome her disability by entering the contest. Whenever Ha’s in focus, the music becomes dramatic, the judges’ faces show both admiration and...

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