I never thought I’d be for defending Dr. Phil but I have to give him some credit.
I’m a millennial but I’ve still been watching Dr. Phil since he was on Oprah after the mad cow disease drama and I’ve loyally watched his self-titled show ever since. I watch it in the same way I watch Real Housewives but I still watch it and because I’ve been watching it this whole time I’ve noticed that there’s one thing about him that’s changed in recent years: subtle ableism.
He’s changed his language in a way that only seems noticeable if you are looking at it from a disabled person’s point of view. He tries (very hard) to be humorously down-to-earth and he has used ableist slurs like “crazy” in the past but I’ve realized that he stopped doing that and corrects his guests most of the time they use these words, especially. The word retarded. I would like it is he pointed out that they are ableist but instead he tells people that he doesn’t like those words. Even so, outside of Tumblr he’s the only person I’ve seen call anyone on that.
That isn’t enough for me to give him a kudos but I’ve recently noticed something else, he stopped using “disabled” to indicate unwanted “other” behavior. Most commonly it’s when someone isn’t working and he reprimands them by saying that they have no excuse because they aren’t disabled, they are able-bodied.
If I was a normie viewer I certainly wouldn’t recognize that this was a politically correct term, just fancy vernacular. As a disabled viewer it feels odd. It feels normal. It feels odd because it’s normalizing disabled terms.
It’s sad to appreciate such vague non-representation as representation but that’s as good as we can get right now apparently. It’s underwhelming, but I appreciate it.
I still don’t appreciate him parading cripple mutates out to complain about how their lives are over now that they are disabled as a scare tactic.
That’s a legitimate contribution to the Holocaust but, you know, he doesn’t say crazy as much anymore so that’s good.