#AbledsAreWeird: People with Disabilities ​Who Share Frustrating ​and Weird Experiences

What Is An Abled?

Abled is an able-bodied person who isn’t disabled.

What Is The Hashtag #AbledsAreWeird About?

It’s a topic started on Twitter to point out the things people who aren’t disabled do to disabled people without realising how weird, intrusive or offensive they are being.

Who Started This Hashtag?

The hashtag was started by Imani Barbarin, also known as Twitter user Crutches&Spice. She started the hashtag, she told Aj Plus, “Because I was reflecting on some of the weird experiences that I’ve had as a disabled person. I just remember feeling off put by some of the behaviour able-bodied people had towards me.” “There’s a lot of disrespect of disabled people’s autonomy under the guise of ‘oh, I’m just trying to help’ And it allows people to believe that disabled people cant consent to what they want for their bodies.”

“You should be respecting disabled people’s bodies. You should be respecting their voices and you should be making yourself ally rather than a hindrance to disabled people’s lives.”

Other Twitter Users Joined In With The Hashtag:

Finally, I contributed to the hashtag as well:

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Disabled parking photo by disabilities

Instagram’s Controversial Censorship of Mental Health Hashtags

Trigger warning: discussion of self-harm

The following popular hashtags have recently been censored: Mentalhealth, selfharm, depression, suicide, anxiety, eatingdisorder, anorexia, anxorexiarecovery, bulimia, ocd, bpd, depressionmemes, mentalhealthmemes, suicideawareness, and possibly others that I haven’t come across.

The risks of using these hashtags are: you will see not as much engagement with your post, as your potential followers aren’t finding you via hashtags. The other risk is a temporary Shadowban, so proceed with caution. 

Instagram will not show you recent posts with these forbidden hashtags. They will only show you a short page of the trending results for that hashtag after showing a warning notice first (which I show an example of later in this post).

Why Has Instagram Censored These Hashtags?

It is believed that some people are promoting distressing images or people seeing them get triggered to feel worst.  In the case of an eating disorder and self-harm it is thought that there are posts on Instagram encouraging people to do it.  They are concerned about the impressionable younger generation who use Instagram a lot. 

While I understand why this has happened, to me as a mental health blogger and advocate, I am now unable to reach more potential new followers. Not just myself, but also charities that help mental health are affected also. As well as this, I have seen a lot of mental health bloggers who are upset about the ban, mainly with #mentalhealth being caught up in this. 

I Carried Out Some Research

For the sake of research I looked into the self-harm hashtag and the results were mixed. The images were quite graphic, with scars all over people’s arms and one drawing of blood dripping down an arm with an inspirational saying encouraging people not to self-harm. There was a picture of an arm with scars all over it, but next to it were the words ‘3 months clean’, meaning the person had gone 3 months without self-harming. The comments were all supportive. There are photos of before and after tattoos, where the before picture is an arm with healed scars all over it and the next photo is the new tattoo that covers it.

 I also saw an upsetting photo of an arm with the words ‘I Hate Myself’ cut into it. Another photo was of scissors and a knife with the words ‘when these become your best friends when everyone else left you alone’. So as you can see there is a valid reason for trying to censor the results for this hashtag, especially with vulnerable teenagers who regularly use Instagram.

What Support Is Instagram Offering?

If you search or click the hashtags you will now be redirected to a window that asks if Instagram can help. It offers support through 3 different ways. 

If you press ‘get support’ you will see this screen:

  1. Talk to a friend

2. Talk to a helpline volunteer

As I’m in the UK and seeing UK based charities, I presume if you are in another country you will see charities to contact in your own area.

3. Tips and support to help yourself

As you can see, Instagram is making positive steps to help those who might be feeling down.

Finally, If You Are Looking for Examples of Hashtags That Aren’t Banned:

Example list for Eating Disorder hashtags that are allowed. They feature people recovering from the condition, recipes and positive selfies: edrecovery, eatingdisorderrecovery , edwarrior , edfighter

Examples list for mental health that are allowed: Mentalhealthawarness, mentalhealthmatters, depressionhelp, mentalillnessawareness, mentalhealthasvocate, anxietysucks, endthestigma, mentalhealthsupport, mentalhealthrecovery, ocdawareness, thereforyou, youmatter, postivementalhealth, anxietyattacks, mentalhealthisreal, mentalhealthcommunity.

What do you think of Instagram censoring hashtags? Let me know in the comments.

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