Interabled couples push back against Dr. Phil's ableist comments about dating and disability

Interabled couples push back against Dr. Phil's ableist comments about dating and disability

The faces of interabled couple  Shane  and  Hannah  after watching Dr. Phil’s segment on interabled couples.

The faces of interabled couple Shane and Hannah after watching Dr. Phil’s segment on interabled couples.

If you haven’t heard the hype about Dr. Phil and his deplorable statements about disability and relationships, keep reading.

I will preface this by saying that the disability community is outraged, which is evident by the new hashtag #100outof100 that is making headway on social media platforms to fight against Dr. Phil’s detrimental statements about disability. 

I’ve watched Dr. Phil a few times in my life and each episode was just as unsettling as the next. He has a blindfold of radical mightiness tied tight across his eyes which makes him come off as a.. dick (for lack of a better word). The problem with him expressing his very personal and at times radical viewpoints on his substantially large public platform can be quite problematic. I’ve seen episodes where he has re-traumatized victims and said things that are harmful to different communities of people. And this man is a doctor? Aren’t doctors supposed to help heal people and provide wisdom and guidance? If daytime TV is about getting viewers by proxy of being a ass, I don’t want any part of it. Sure, people embellish things to get views, but the things Dr. Phil says and does on his platform is posing to be very problematic.

On a recent episode (don’t watch it, let’s tank his viewership), Dr. Phil had an interabled couple on the show. An interabled relationship is when one person in the romantic relationship is disabled and the other is not. They were having some relationship problems and Dr. Phil proceeded to blame these problems on the man with the disability. His able bodied girlfriend was given empathy for her situation, having to take care of her disabled boyfriend. YouTubers Shane Burcaw & Hannah that are publicly known for sharing their journey with their quirky and straight up heart-warming interabled relationship were supposed to appear on the show as the “ideal” interabled couple to offer this fellow interabled couple advice. Shane and Hannah respectfully declined, and for good reason.

Dr. Phil started the episode by polling the audience.

He asked how many people would swipe right on a person in a wheelchair on a dating app. I believe the results were around 50%.

Well, I guess I’m saying goodbye to tinder, bumble, etc. He then asked if you did swipe right how many would continue with the relationship if they needed caregiving. The results were around a whopping 20%. While these numbers are coming from Dr. Phil viewers, they make sense. Maybe I won’t delete my dating apps just yet.

Amongst the deplorable and untrue things he said on the episode was one explosive, declarative, statement that has the disability community outraged: “100 out of 100 relationships that involve caregiving will fail.”

I doubt Dr. Phil had done any sort of research other than his biased audience poll to come up with this ludicrous statement. When large platforms & people such as Dr. Phil use their power to put out statements like this, it’s grossly negligent and not okay. While we can’t toss Dr. Phil in ableist jail (actually though, can we make that a thing) for saying that, we can push back. That’s exactly what the disability community is doing, and it’s gaining traction. Photo after photo, interabled couples all over the world are quoting Dr. Phil’s crass and untrue statement with the growing #100outof100 hashtag to show the world interabled relationships that involve caregiving do exist and exist happily and healthy.

The disability community is a minority that works everyday of our lives to try and break stigmas that Dr. Phil so brassily says on national platforms. I implore you to check out that hashtag to see all the crazy adorable interabled couples out there that I’m quite jelly of. In a world where I can already hardly get a date, we don’t need people like Dr. Phil reaffirming damaging stigmas about disability. I’m so proud that my community is taking a stand to let the world know that interabled relationships that involve caregiving are very much a prominent part of our society and don’t fail on the basis of Dr. Phil’s accusations.

Here’s one post out of the growing 1,200 posts using the #100outof100 hashtag to push back against Dr. Phil.

@missturtleblog  and her husband being a happily married interabled couples.

@missturtleblog and her husband being a happily married interabled couples.

#💯outof💯 🐢 @drphil PART 2/2

(For PART 1/2 of the following caption see previous post)

[…] The surge of solidarity that came out of it is wonderful! Somehow, your rigid perspective brought together people who matter more than you seem to think. Like a coming-out, it made them tell the world about their fantastic and beautiful love/carer stories!

Thank you, Dr. Phil!
I genuinely hope that one day, you will have the intelligence and the bravery to tell the world you were wrong and that you have learned a real-life lesson.

Like all the couples who, in the past few days, have demonstrated that being a lover, a carer and so much more is possible, I need to say that waking up next to each other every morning is for both, my husband and me an incredible blessing! We have been together for over seven years, and three years ago, my husband decided to put a cross on his career to become my full-time carer. He is the only carer I have. That’s right, we are together 24/7… Yet, each day we understand how lucky we are to have each other!

The funny thing is that as travel bloggers we go places, we meet people… and we often hear: "Miss, you are so lucky to have this guy!". To which my husband gladly answers: "You have no idea how much your statement is even truer the other way around!" Together we are a powerful team!

Too often people with disabilities are seen through the narrow-minded projections of an observer and not for who they really are… which, in a sense, I understand. When something is new or "strange" it is normal to be frightened and to need some time to adapt. Isn’t that how the mind works? For me, this whole observer/observed situation only becomes problematic when people choose to stick to their projections. Unfortunately, a lot of people never take the plunge to overcome their ignorance.

#StayPositive” -@missturtleblog

Amongst all the chaos, I think there’s one thing we’re all wondering, when is Dr. Phil going to make a public apology and hold himself accountable for his stigmatizing behaviors?

Thank you to Shane Burcaw and Hannah for being amazing advocates and helping break this baby open. I highly suggest checking out their YouTube channel Squirmy & Grubs, not just for their romantic and witty humor, but to learn a little something.

Dr. Phil, we all are waiting. Step up to the plate that you made. We want answers and accountability.

Instagram: @wheelchair_rapunzel

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