Sárközi Stella:

Should I call you freak? The role of society in defining normal human bodies

2022/1 | #easy-to-read communication #guidelines #intellectual disability #sentences | DOI: 10.31287/FT.hu.2022.1.7

For centuries, the collective body image of our society has been defined by what we mean as “normal” and what we define as “different” – among others, the latter group includes the so called disabled human body. The reason for the formation of these groups is society itself. It has been known for centuries that human beings tend to create various systems and categories, and as a result, they divide themelves into different types. A part of this process is the establishing of a system of standards, and defining the criteria for being its member, and consequently naming those individuals who do not fit into the system of these standards. This often results in stigmatization and in the categorization of fundamentally different persons as separate groups of people because of their single common characteristics. The people who are considered as “freaks”, who are the object of freak shows, also often experience this type of exclusion. The “freak” is out of the ordinary, freak people are perceived as stunning, repulsive, seductive and nauseating at the same time. With their help others can give meaning and legitimacy to their own existence, or strangeness.