The invalid may marry another of his kind, and live happily or unhappily ever after. Society doesn’t greatly care whether he is happy or unhappy as long as society isn’t troubled. A wall is raised between the ‘normal’ world and the disabled—a wall ‘invisible and hard and cold as unbreakable glass’. (Judith Thunem in Shearer, 1981:84). The principle problem for a marriage between an able-bodied person and someone handicapped is one of motivation. It begs the cruel and unavoidable question: ‘What normal person would saddle him/herself with someone who probably will need a lifetime of care. Many ‘normal’ people when they enter a marriage of this nature are not marrying an equal but someone they want to treat like a child. (1976:29)
This type of attitude is not only patronizing but also very insulting. It wrongly assumes that a disabled woman is passive, helpless and a burden. The persistent undermining of disabled women in such a way means that if we have a relationship with a nondisabled person then we are constantly subjected to the negative responses of other people:
Fine and Asch (1988) argue that the fact men want women who are not only visually attractive, but also functional in their role as a homemaker and wife means that disabled women are perceived as being incapable of fulfilling such a role.