This week, Heather Mills McCartney was back in the news claiming she would rather lose all her limbs rather than go through another divorce. This soundbite was designed to create maximum media interest but how will it be interpreted and does it portray a positive or negative image of impairment?
On the positive side, you could interpret Heather’s comments as showing a woman who has come to terms with acquiring her impairment and does not see it as limiting her ability to live a fulfilling life. Isn’t this the view that Disabled People have been campaigning for the whole of society to adopt?
On the negative side, however, these comments could be seen as trivialising both the physical and psychological aspects of having a limb amputated. Heather Mills McCartney is quoted as saying ‘if your limbs are chopped off you go, OK, you get another limb and there’s light at the end of the tunnel.’. This may be her experience but I know many people who have experienced difficulties after an amputation, particularly with having a prosthetic fitted or getting ‘phantom pain’ from the missing limb. For many people it is simply not the case that they just ‘get another limb’.
My own opinion is that this comment was a calculated ploy to try and win the media battle in Heather’s divorce to Sir Paul McCartney and did nothing to further Disabled People’s continuing fight for equality. Let us know your views on this issue.