An Open Letter to Women with Disabilities Everywhere
This article was posted on the Mobility Resource webpage. Posted on: by Jewel Kats
Dear Women with Disabilities Everywhere:
“What is your personal definition of a Diva?”
This question was posed to me earlier today by a media queen for an interview I was doing for three sister newspapers at the same time.
My response was quick.
“A diva is a woman who isn’t afraid to go after what she wants. She makes no apologies for who she is. A diva is confident, sassy and determined. She takes care of her external and internal package.”
The reporter then went on to ask:
“Have you always been a diva? Is there a situation or life event that made you into a Diva?”
This question made think…reflect…ponder.
“I wasn’t always a diva,” I answered. “It was after I overcame anorexia that I developed confidence. So, I’m new to diva-hood. Through therapy, I learned to assert myself. Before that, I was very passive,” I said more or less.
Several hours have passed now. The interview is long over but that question stuck with me. It’s made me realize how far I’ve come.
When you work in the media, you often get stuck with an image. I happen to be a diva with disabilities. This badge doesn’t bother me in the least. In fact, I wear it with pride.
There are countless other women with disabilities who are just like me. I’m a mere stamp that represents a mass of people.
I think too often the word diva comes with negative assumptions. That’s not really the case. Diva-hood is just another word for sisterhood. And women with disabilities have always been a part of the club. The media is just catching on.
Divas generally enjoy playing dress up. We take pride in our appearance, but we’re more than our red, pink or blue lipstick tubes. Likewise, we’re more than our crutches, wheelchairs, walkers and the list goes on. We’re women—with disabilities or not–who are empowered enough to know that you can still make a political statement in a miniskirt. In my case, I advocate for people with disabilities.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Women with disabilities can be anything or anyone they want. Nothing, nobody should stop us. I’ve opted to go the diva route. This doesn’t make me any more or any less of a woman.
Women who opt out of the diva club aren’t doomed for life. They can still be confident, sassy and determined. It’s just a matter of personal choice.
So, the next time someone calls you or someone you love a diva, don’t jump back or get defensive. Wear this label with pride. It’s just another word for sisterhood, and women with disabilities have always been a part of it!
The Original “DitzAbled Princess”
Jewel Kats xoxo
About Jewel Kats
Once a teen runaway, Jewel Kats is now a self-made Diva. For six years, Jewel penned a syndicated teen advice column for Scripps Howard News Service (USA) and TorStar Syndication Service (Canada). She’s won $20,000 in scholarships from Global Television Network and women’s book publisher, Harlequin Enterprises. Jewel also interned in the TV studio of Entertainment Tonight Canada. Her books have been featured in Ability Magazine twice. She’s penned seven award-winning books. Jewel’s latest obsession is her reality-series comic strip: “DitzAbled Princess.” Please visit: www.ditzabledprincess.com