My impairment is known as Phocomelia, which means ‘seal-like limbs’. In my case, this was induced by the fact that my mother was prescribed Thalidomide when she was pregnant with me. I do have a small amount of humerus bone, and where the radius and ulna bones might be, I have a small plate bone, looking a little like the flipper bone of a seal; and I have no thumbs. My condition is constant, as opposed to degenerative, but I have over-compensated in other limbs, which are damaged by arthritis as a result.
I have collaborated with Ashley, the photographer, many times as I believe that it’s really important for disabled people to allow themselves to be identified as sexual beings, subjects, objects, people engaging with their sexuality and sexy feelings. I love to be stripped of all my clothing and to explore my glorious, naked disabled body and self, proud of who and what I am, and represent. I am proud and happy to be different and I do love being looked at, lusted after. When an image of my body disturbs the viewer, I like that too, as it means that in some way they are forced to reassess their perspective on sex, nakedness, beauty and disability.
My condition is known as Diastrophic Dysplasia, a type of dwarfism that is particularly common in Finland, the country of my birth. During my childhood and adolescence, I used to be extremely embarrassed about my body, but through many painful experiences I came to realize that there is just no such thing as a ‘perfect’ body. Nowadays I do not think of myself as being different, any more so than everyone is different from someone else. Through my artistic practice as a performer and model, I strive to show that feeling sexy and confident does not necessarily require fitting into predetermined stereotypes of normative beauty.
I have modelled for Ashley many times in the past and trust him implicitly, so have no objections to being photographed naked. Even in everyday life, I cannot hide away my imperfections behind clothes and make-up, so in a sense, I am always naked whether I wear clothes or not.
Photography by Ashley Savage from the exhibition “Bodies of Difference”. There are higher resolution (but not downloadable) versions of these and more photos at his website: http://www.savageskin.co.uk/Bodies_Of_Difference.html
Her eyes on him
Two African Bush Vipers
I really, REALLY wish you could read this article about a father who started wearing skirts because his son likes to wear skirts and dresses and he wants his son to feel stronger
Like, holy shit, the end made me feel so happy
I took the liberty to translate the text.
Please note that it’s not a word to word translation.
Sometimes men simply have to be role models.
Because his son likes to wear skirts Nils Pickert started with it as well. After all, the little one needs a role model. And he thinks long skirts with elastic bands suit him quite well anyways. A story about two misfits in the Province of southern Germany.
My fife year old son likes to wear dresses. In Berlin Kreuzberg that alone would be enough to get into conversation with other parents. Is it wise or ridiculous? „Neither one nor the other!“ I still want to shout back at them. But sadly they can’t hear me any more. Because by now I live in a small town in South Germany. Not even a hundred thousand inhabitants, very traditional, very religious. Plainly motherland. Here the partiality of my son are not only a subject for parents, they are a town wide issue. And I did my bit for that to happen.
Yes, I’m one of those dads, that try to raise their children equal. I’m not one of those academic daddies that ramble about gender equality during their studies and then, as soon as a child’s in the house, still relapse into those fluffy gender roles: He’s finding fulfilment in his carrier and she’s doing the rest.
Thus I am, I know that by now, part of the minority that makes a fool of themselves from time to time. Out of conviction.
In my case that’s because I didn’t want to talk my son into not wearing dresses and skirts. He didn’t make friends in doing that in Berlin already and after a lot of contemplation I had only one option left: To broaden my shoulders for my little buddy and dress in a skirt myself. After all you can’t expect a child at pre-school age to have the same ability to assert themselves as an adult. Completely without role model. And so I became that role model.
We already had skirt and dress days back then during mild Kreuzbergian weather. And I think long skirts with elastic bands suit me quite well anyways. Dresses are a bit more difficult. There was either no reaction of the people in Berlin or it was positive. In my small town in the south of Germany that’s a little bit different.
Being all stressed out, because of the moving I forgot to notify the nursery-school teachers to have an eye on my boy not being laughed at because of his fondness of dresses and skirts. Shortly after moving he didn’t dare to go to nursery-school wearing a skirt or a dress any more. And looking at me with big eyes he asked: “Daddy, when are you going to wear a skirt again?”
To this very day I’m thankful for that women, that stared at us on the street until she ran face first into a street light. My son was roaring with laugher. And the next day he fished out a dress from the depth of his wardrobe. At first only for the weekend. Later also for nursery-school.
And what’s the little guy doing by now? He’s painting his fingernails. He thinks it looks pretty on my nails, too. He’s simply smiling, when other boys ( and it’s nearly always boys) want to make fun of him and says: “You only don’t dare to wear skirts and dresses because your dads don’t dare to either.” That’s how broad his own shoulders have become by now. And all thanks to daddy in a skirt.
A quick tip on the formatting of -ski/-sky names: females and males have their last names written differently.
Belarusian: Males are -ski, females are -skaya.
(eg. Nikolai Arlovski versus Natalya Arlovskaya)
Ukrainian/Russian: Males are -sky or -skiy (NOT -SKI), females are -skaya.
(eg. Ivan Braginsky, but Anya Braginskaya)
Also worth mentioning is Polish: Males are -ski, females are -ska, I believe.
Last names work differently in different parts of the world so it always helps to double check that you’re formatting it correctly; the male/female variations does not just apply to -ski names but also to -ov/-ova, for example!
can we just mail life like uteruses to republicans can we do that
you want to make the rules about uteruses so bad here you go
you get a free uterus to enforce rules upon
now leave mine alone okok
life-like uteruses with interesting moral-dilemmas written on paper inside of them
it would be especially exciting if they could look at them long enough to figure out there is a message inside
“My identity is not hurting anyone! Therefore you have no reason to complain about my existence!”
This argument is the most common retaliation to criticism and open trolling of otherkin and multiple systems, and a dangerous belief system to subscribe to.
As I mentioned in my post ‘I’ll Believe You if You Believe Me’, there are absolutely no limitations to who you can be in the multiple (and otherkin) community. If you wish your idea of “identity” to include serial killer, pedophile, ghost, unicorn, Hitler, or a special “psychic connection” to Tom Hiddleston, you can do these and more. You can be whatever you wish because there is no base criteria you must meet.
What little rules there are are easy to navigate and lead you to even more sub-communities. Do you believe you were Tom Hiddleston in a past life? Fiction/Factivekin. Does he live with your in your head? Factive in a plural system. Do you have a “strong connection” with him but he does not live in your head? Soulbonding. So on, etc.
But why is this harmful? Why is it wrong to be so accepting? What does it hurt?
It facilitates real disorders.
There are people out there who are otherkin or multiple that are very well grounded, live in stable home environments, and have no mental illnesses. For example, though I have DID, I do not view it as a “mental illness” because I have worked with my system for almost fifteen years to be as happy and healthy as I am today. At one point my DID was an illness because it crippled my life and functioning. Though it hasn’t gone away, it has changed significantly, enough for me to live very well.
Otherkin and multiples who exercise moderation in their beliefs usually feel pressured into becoming “something more” by the community. For example, someone who resonates with the otherkin belief system because they feel a strong spiritual connection with a certain animal may then be pressured into believing they ARE said animal, even though normally they would never have considered it. Their stable, healthy spiritual belief can easily be twisted into something damaging for themselves and those who love them.
Joining the otherkin or multiple community is a challenge because of the “go big or go home” attitude it facilitates. And that attitude not only accepts delusions of reality, but encourages them.
Because so many otherkin and multiples have been taught to suspend their disbelief and never question their peers, they cannot help people who join them who genuinely need psychiatric intervention.
I’m sure many will reply at one time they encouraged a friend to go to therapy or seek anti-depressants. But this is not enough. Sometimes, members of a community who are hurting themselves and others need to be told to cease their belief system.
Multiples can tell others in their community that they are completely out of line and need to seek help. The same applies to otherkin. But the problem with doing this is two-fold; one, that judging one another in this all-accepting community will earn the label of pariah, and two, that so many multiples and ‘kin depend on others believing in them to believe in themselves.
If these problems aren’t enough, many who are genuinely unstable and using these communities to fit their delusions and disorders often have already been to therapy.
“But I told my therapist about my multiple system/kin identity and they said it was perfectly okay!”
This is the second defensive argument to criticism and unfortunately many will believe means the individual IS of sound mind.
The truth about the therapy process is this: therapists will allow you to believe in “harmless” things, assuming that they are coping mechanisms for a larger problem. Once the larger problem is taken care of, these coping mechanisms will clear up on their own.
Believing you have the spirit of a dragon or that popular video game characters talk to you are not immediately life-threatening coping mechanisms, so they are dealt with later. A (good) therapist will never tell you that your coping mechanism with such a “belief system” is wrong or false unless it is putting you in danger. Even then, it’s unlikely they will outright state it is wrong. Their goal is to work WITH you and teach YOU to come to the conclusion you are not a dragon on your own.
A good therapist knows denying such coping mechanisms as “real” will put their client on the defensive. So when asked if being plural or ‘kin is bad or wrong, they will not answer with their truthful opinion.
When I met my therapist for the first time, she informed me “short-term” therapy is considered to be two to four years. Seeing a therapist for a couple of months (or less!) barely scratches the surface of the process, and any ‘kin or multiples who haven’t been in therapy for this amount of time cannot really know if their therapist truly finds their identities acceptable.
The truth is that identities CAN hurt people. Believing the Columbine killer Eric Harris lives with you hurts the families of the people he killed, it hurts the survivors, it hurts thousands of people affected by the killings. It also is hurting yourself. Being a fan of someone who has killed, raped, or demonized others is called hybristophilia(wiki article).
Multiples and otherkin are constantly trying to rally together, stating that no one should “fight” or judge one another. By doing this, they are willingly blinding themselves to the responsibility of seeing problematic behavior from those around them and the nessecity of taking steps to help others. That is how their identities hurt others and why their beliefs need questioned.