Stale news by now in terms of Internet news-spreading speed, a western Sweden organization has royally screwed up in the Olympic competition of being politically correct, or even morally conscious.
The end of last month saw outcries from Swedish consumers and, assumedly, any human with access to the Internet after the Gothenburg Cooperative for Independent Living (GIL) released to toy stores and various Swedish media outlets a “retard doll” with instructions on the packaging to “treat her like a real retard.”
And though it may seem like GIL is some deviously evil foundation whose MO is to cook up outrage for attention and products to be sold at the mall chain Spencer’s, apparently whoever is in charge believed this product would do some good.
Shockingly, the non-profit is an organization that works toward assisting the group of individuals whose esteem it so blatantly disregards.
According to their website (after subjected to Google Translate), “GIL believes that people with disabilities shall have equal opportunity to choose their individual future as others. Through a personalized assistance with their own responsibility GIL gives people with disabilities opportunities to live a life without limitations on possible future options. We work with the Independent Living philosophy so that it promotes individual development.”
The doll, named Gil after its creators, was meant to encourage the public to treat those with disabilities as no different from themselves. The aim was to teach people to behave naturally toward people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities, instead of with an “exaggerated kindness.” By creating a doll displaying characteristics of cerebral palsy such as a “deformed face” and “twisted” appendages, the non-profit was attempting to demonstrate that not all humans look the same, so neither should all dolls. So at least the motive was in good favor, it seems.
“We’re not cuter than anyone else. We’re just as stupid, smart, confident, horny and happy as you are,” said GIL spokesman Anders Westgerd.
I’m all for creating innovative and even quirky methods of getting the public’s attention in order to make a statement, but how can this doll, titled “CP-docken” aka Cerebral Palsy doll, not be viewed as some form of underhanded jesting at the expense of those with disabilities? Several news outlets have even quoted customers with disabled family members who view this doll as highly negative and offensive.
Especially since the doll’s appearance was purposely designed to be off-putting, and since the packaging also states,
“She does not swear, have sex, drink alcohol, or poop. So very much better than a normal CP!”