The Cure Girls 2016 Campaign: We Will Walk out of Here!
Along with their new Campaign images I have included my article for Neon Nettle which I wrote back in December last year expressing my dismay at the mainstream media and able bodied celebrities such as Kylie Jenner who are using wheelchairs for their shock value yet the unsung hero like the cure girls are left without a voice in this sector, Here’s to the cure girls may they find their cure and bring awareness to the masses:
Cure Girls: Lorraine Mack, Loredana Longo, Marina Romoli
Photographer: Michelle George
Photographer assistant: Sarah Monrose
Make up: Lauren Kay
There campaign has also been featured in Totally Aesthetic Magazine
Yet the real controversy is the attention we, the public, give the likes of Jenner for this sort of stunt when there are numerous unsung heroes out there living a life confined to a wheelchair without a voice or any sort of public acknowledgment.
It is a sad fact that the only time we will see a wheelchair on the front of a high fashion magazine is when abled body celebrities or high fashion model are using it as a fashion statement. Very little is discussed in the mainstream media about spinal cord injury or it’s implications…
As Lorraine Mack, a c4-5 tetraplegic and committee board member for spinal research points out on her Instagram post this is no light-hearted matter for those who are actually confined to a wheelchair!
Lorraine and a group of women from across the world all living with a spinal cord injury have formed a movement known as the Cure Girls. Their mission is to make people aware of the implications of a spinal cord injury and to raise money for spinal research to help find a cure.
“We want to show the world what it’s really like living with a spinal cord injury as we feel society has pictured it being basically acceptable for us to accept our injuries and move on with life, but people really don’t understand the daily struggle of living with a spinal cord injury. Some of those factors are: Constant 24 hour care needing carers if you’re tetraplegic-needing help with even being washed and dressed and fed, breathing on a ventilator if you’re a very high level injury. Constant health problems which include bladder infections, autonomic disreflexia, osteoporosis, spasms, pressure sores, use of catheters, no bladder or bowel function, no sexual function, assisted coughs, constant chronic neuropathic pain, having to take lots of medication that’s without all of the psychological problems. The list is endless!” Lorraine Mack
Is it any wonder why Lorraine and countless others have been outraged and found Kylie Jenners front cover to be so ignorant.
But the truth is this is not the first time wheelchairs have been used in the name of art or fashion. …Countless photographers, publications and celebrities have used disability as a way to project some semblance of a message. And this is certainly not the first time Steven Klein has used disability in his work.
Here is a sample of one of Steven Kleins previous shots from a shoot from earlier in the year using model Joan Smalls in a wheelchair forfor V magazine.
Ben Hassett, Hassett Photography, Hassett Fashion, Fashion Editor, Vogue Paris, Minéral Photographers, Fashion Photography, Paris Bijoux, Catherine Mcneil
Vogue’s February 1995 issue, Helmut Newton Model: Nadja Auermann
As mentioned above; what is really sad however is that while the fashion industry and celebrities are happy to use wheelchairs in the name of art, not much attention is given to the actual sufferers; As the Roman Reed Foundation pointed out to Lady Gaga, back in 2011 for her wheelchair stunt at her gig in Austraila:
“Dear ladygaga how about using your celebrity status 2 try 2 get us out of wheelchairs. Instead of cruising one. Cool?!”
Mark Bacon, Director at Spinal Research also speaks out about the lack of government funding and how it is imperative that people are made more aware of spinal cord injury.”
”There are a number of reasons why there is little support, little money going into spinal research. One is that the numbers are very low, but one thing people don’t realise is along with the numerous side effects of spinal cord injury is the financial burden, many need 24-hour care, which they need to fund themselves. There is also the issue of loss of earnings and equipment costs. There is also the attitude that if you’re paralysed, you’re paralysed for life, but that just is an attitude. What we see is a celebration of disability, but what you don’t see is the chronic neuropathic pain. There is often a rosy view of what it is like to be paralysed”
And clearly fashions glamorisation of disabilities is not helping matters
The reality is below:
Many suffers needs the aid of various exercise equipment to prevent organs from failing and muscles from wasting away:
See here the F.E.S Bike: the only piece of equipment to provide aerobic exercise for spinal cord injury. Stimulates up to 10 muscles to prevent muscle wastage.
By using Kylie Jenner in a wheelchair for a front cover is just another example of how the mainstream press like to make light of things and distract us from what is real! 800 people suffer from spinal cord injury every year in UK. It mostly affects young adults. Most of which cannot afford to pay for equipment or care. For more information on spinal research and how you can help the cure girls win their fight please check out the Cure Girls blog and the Spinal Research website