The F-Word’s position on disablism and access

Introduction

The F-Word aims to also fight those oppressions which compound and complicate sexism. We recognise that additional forms of oppression, as well as sexism, must be tackled in order to achieve women’s liberation. We therefore aim to not only publish pieces addressing these various oppressions but to also do all we can to avoid perpetuating them in any material we publish and in how we work. One of these oppressions is disablism: discrimination against disabled people.

The F-Word wants to actively break down barriers to participation and make as much of our content and our day-to-day activities accessible to disabled people as possible.

The story so far

In April 2014, Philippa Willitts analysed content on The F-Word to identify instances of disablist language and underrepresentation of disabled people in images. She found that disablist language had been used a huge number of times, both historically and more recently, and was often not challenged. She also found that in a random sample of images, there were no pictures of visibly disabled people.

In October 2016, Megan Stodel replicated Philippa’s analysis and found that the use of disablist language had decreased dramatically, although it had not been completely eradicated. However there was still a very low incidence of images of disabled people being used on the site which is a concern.

What we will do

These are some of the actions that The F-Word commits to taking:

  • The F-Word will not use any disablist language in any post or communication.
  • The F-Word will ensure that at least some of the images that it uses show someone with a visible impairment.
  • The F-Word will ensure that recruitment procedures are clear and open.
  • All images used in The F-Word’s articles will be described for blind and partially sighted readers of the site, generally at the end of the post in which they appear.
  • Where possible all audio content on The F-Word will be transcribed or described.
  • Most videos linked to or embedded on The F-Word will be fully subtitled.
  • The F-Word will write in a journalistic style, academic language will be avoided and the tone kept conversational.
  • Paragraphs will be kept short and text will be broken up as much as possible with pictures and pullquotes.
  • Titles, tags and content notes will be used to give readers information about our pieces and the pieces we link to, so that readers who may find certain subjects upsetting or triggering can make their own decisions about what they read.

Keeping us honest

The F-Word recognises that access is never “done” and that new information, thinking and technology rapidly changes what can be considered reasonable in this area. These guidelines will be reviewed regularly and the progress of the site in these areas evaluated.

Our evaluations will be published on our site and will include as a minimum:

  • Checking the incidence of disablist language.
  • Reviewing the representation of disabled people in our images and content.

If there’s something you think we should be doing, or an area we’ve not included please email Lissy Lovett at lissy.lovett@thefword.org. Lissy will update this page and is responsible for evaluating The F-Word’s progress in this area.

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