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Passable, Not Presentable

Shulamith Firestone

PASSABLE, NOT PRESENTABLE

She remembered the time before she had gotten sick. When it was a challenge to dress, how good it felt to look just right and be certain of one’s appearance. Then came losing her looks in the hospital, and the ghastly difference it made in the way she was received the way people turned away from her after one glance on the street. And the slow climb back, trying to disguise the stiffness in her gait, and the drooling moronic look on her face that came from the medication. Perhaps this was why the mentally disabled always seemed so bland-looking as a group: they had to strive to look ordinary, to “pass.” That little bit of extra aplomb that made one stand out of the crowd was beyond them.
[from: AIRLESS SPACES, Semiotext[e], 1998]