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How do you feel about the term 'superhumans'?

Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 8,052

Scope community team

A piece in The Guardian yesterday by Jack Perry (a member of Team GB’s World Under-23 title-winning wheelchair basketball side in 2017 ) suggests that by using the term 'superhumans' to promote para-athletes, they are being done a disservice. 

‘Superhumans’ tag plays down the talent and dedication of disabled athletes

The World Para-Athletics Championships start on Thursday but punchy branding during Rio 2016 inadvertently cast Paralympic athletes as freaks of sport.

"The superhuman label also affects the Paralympic athletes themselves, who are cast as the freaks of sport, existing outside the perceived norm of able-bodied elite athletes. Too often what is highlighted about disabled athletes is the disability that sets them apart instead of the supreme talent and dedication that makes them exceptional."

The Guardian
How do you feel about the label? Do you think it abnormalises disability?
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Replies

  • RoddyRoddy Member Posts: 389 Pioneering
    edited November 2019
    @Adrian_Scope Not at all. I'm a Superhuman, just the same as every other disabled person. It's only some of the able-bodied 'humans' that are not 'Super.' I've been labelled a lot worse, and so I for one have no problems at all with being called Superhuman. My own children would even excel that title towards me. 'Mega-human' is what I am.   
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    It does not irritate me at all @Adrian_Scope. I think that while words are powerful we cannot be too sensitive either.
    Interesting topic. But yes I think that we need to be careful to lower the harmful effects this could have for the disabled community. I have always believed that words are important. We must choose our words carefully. I’ll have to read that article now. Have you ever heard of the end the r-word campaign or not? 
  • SeanchaiSeanchai Member Posts: 411 Pioneering
    Personally , i,m not to keen on the tag ' superhuman ' . Are ordinary athletes labelled superhuman ? 
    We are all humans with various capabilities . To say that disabled athetes are 'superhuman' is incorrect i believe. If anyone is " "superhuman" , i would take it to mean they are not normal human beings .  It must take loads of training and expertese to compete at that level whether being abled or disabled . If i was confined to a wheelchair i doubt if i would be seen as superhuman . As a disabled person i would like others just treat me as an ordinary human being with less capabilities than an able bodied person . Which is what i am.
    Good luck to all the athletes taking part in the games. 
  • RoddyRoddy Member Posts: 389 Pioneering
    I seem to recall one of SCOPE's members some while back (but I cannot recall His name) and he added an article about his own sporting achievements, which yes, were remarkable. It makes me wonder if perhaps any comment from us, called HIM superhuman or the likes of? WE would have all given him some kind of label, due to HIS disabilities? Just a thought. 

    Also, although we are all humans, disabled or not, there ARE differences between us due to our individual but different abilities. It is hard enough at times for able bodied to choose the words, but I'm sure that most journalists mean well even if some of us think it's wrong. Many disabled people have made their so-called fame & financial richness via the media, when perhaps if they were able bodied they would not, and they themselves have no complaints, and so???   @Adrian_Scope your post is very thought provoking. Thank You. 
  • OnixOnix Member Posts: 75 Pioneering
    I think it really depends on how the person using the term wants to come across - eg 'ah wow, you must be superhuman', against 'do you think your superhuman?'

    I think context definitely plays a large part.
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 10,092 Disability Gamechanger
    edited November 2019
    I can see why the word 'superhuman' can be seen as minimising the undoubted efforts of para-athletes.....they do not achieve anything because of any 'superhuman powers,' rather by immense dedication & training, the same as other athletes. I would disagree that they are thought of as 'freaks' of sport. Now the word 'freak' I feel is I feel a far more emotive word; that may of course just be a journalist sadly trying to grab their audience.
  • WhileIBreathIHopeWhileIBreathIHope Posts: 216 Member
    Were are the silt in the gutter of society and I firmly believe society will be pleased to see the back of us, we are not seen as an asset and are a liability.

    personally Society doesn’t value my efforts and I feel If I dropped dead nothing would change.
  • RoddyRoddy Member Posts: 389 Pioneering
    Were are the silt in the gutter of society and I firmly believe society will be pleased to see the back of us, we are not seen as an asset and are a liability.

    personally Society doesn’t value my efforts and I feel If I dropped dead nothing would change.

    @WhileIBreatheIHope
    It's kind of sad for me to read that you have such a low opinion of yourself... though I know that many people may feel that way 

    While I Breath I Hope:  and THAT is very much worth You adhering to. DON'T let 'society' get you down. YOU are stronger than any society, and all of your efforts are a value to YOU first and 'society' second. Not all within a society are uncaring. It is individual people that are, and you're not one of those. Keep headstrong, my friend.    

  • RoddyRoddy Member Posts: 389 Pioneering
    chiarieds said:
    I can see why the word 'superhuman' can be seen as minimising the undoubted efforts of para-athletes.....they do not achieve anything because of any 'superhuman powers,' rather by immense dedication & training, the same as other athletes. I would disagree that they are thought of as 'freaks' of sport. Now the word 'freak' I feel is I feel a far more emotive word; that may of course just be a journalist sadly trying to grab their audience.
    I totally agree. It takes far more than just the physical 'ability' to be a good athlete, and if that was not the case then ALL able-bodied people would be athletes. I would wager that many para-athletes, would win against a large majority of able-bodied people... and here's a thought, was Roger Banister, considered 'superhuman' for being the first to run a 4 minute mile? Or were those that he only beat by a few seconds, NOT 'superhuman?'   I'd only say he was 'superhuman' if he ran a 26 mile marathon in 10 seconds flat. lol
  • pollyanna1052pollyanna1052 Member Posts: 2,032 Disability Gamechanger
    No-one is Superhuman....Superman was, but he was fictional!

    Anyone, whether disabled or able bodied can appear superhuman by doing amazing feats. But this is all done with strength, persistent training and self belief.

    It`s just a label to describe someone who excels at whatever they do.

  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Adrian_Scope   Thank you for this another label.  Do we need this?

    I am not superhuman is that not patronising . All of us who ever we are in the community  have abilities, talents, skills.

    We need to use those and think more positive, clearly and have more self esteem.

    I do think also do we need to prove ourselves and not be an image to those who simply to the society. That does not wish to know.

    Creating isolation and social problems have the attitude to make a serious misjudgement of all us.

    We need to be strong have courage and do the things we want. I remember one time the big put downs from so many employers.

    Special job for a special young man.  Do I need this feel the problems and issues with those who consider us a burden give us the hardships and stress every day.

    With media being an essential tool to harass and hurt our community.

    We have the perceived image of those who do see or do not think.  Very much opinionated and give an opinion of.

    Whether in sport, or lifestyle or social or anything we do.

    Only advice I can give to any one who thinks we are superhuman what exactly does that mean?

    Why do we need a label, why is it necessary to put those like us in the spotlight when in reality.  The truth is many do not ever wish to be associated with us .

    All we need is to promote ourselves. The important valued work SCOPE does then we might get a lot of the respect we justly deserved.


    @thespiceman
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  • RoddyRoddy Member Posts: 389 Pioneering
    @thespiceman, the term 'Disabled' is enough to suffice, perhaps when describing us all whatever our abilities. I can relate to anybody that that emphasises the disability of a person when they describe an achievement attained or reached... 

    It's not any different really, from emphasising a persons background or what they may have had to go through in life in their own personal world...The loss of family for example or being poverty stricken, as such things are also without any fault of their own... 

    It "is' remarkable when a Disabled person surpasses any expectation, and yes they should be applauded, but not in a way that makes them feel marginalised. Many disabled people simply achieve remarkable things because they want too, and not to fight against their disabilities or to be reminded of them by being labelled differently. 

    There was a time when I used to look at the Paralympics for example, and consider the promotion of such as being like some kind of Circus, but I doubt that the contestants themselves feel that way at all. None of them are 'forced to 'perform' for spectators!    
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