"EYE-OPENING, POWERFUL AND EMOTIONALLY NUANCED."THE DAILY BEAST
A SUNDANCE TV ORIGINAL SERIES
starring Angela Rockwood, Tiphany Adams, Auti Angel, Mia Schaikewitz and Chelsie Hill

PUSH GIRLS: A ‘wheelchair sexy’ primer and some mother-daughter drama

Tonight on PUSH GIRLS we learned more about Mia’s relationship with her mother while we celebrated Angela’s 10th anniversary of survival, and there was plenty of fun too, like Chelsie’s first pair of post-wheels heels. As Auti and Tiphany pointed out when they took her on a shopping trip, your first pair of heels after a major spinal cord injury is, as our Vice President would say, a BFD, because using a chair for mobility doesn’t mean you can’t be sexy.

Adjusting to a significant disability can be an uphill struggle, especially in the first year. Chelsie got lucky when she landed in the laps of four great mentors. Both Auti and Tiphany are such beautiful and amazing women, and I loved Tiphany’s comment that being in a chair means a different kind of sexy, not the end of sex appeal. There’s a lot of fun fashion to be had with a chair, and wheelchair users have the best shoes because they don’t need to worry about scuffing!

Mia’s mother, who is having a really tough time adjusting to the fact that Mia will be using a wheelchair for the rest of her life, was obviously profoundly affected by meeting the other PUSH GIRLS. It’s obvious that Mia and her mother have had some tension throughout their lives and it was so amazing to see the scene in the restaurant where Mia’s mother forgot about the chairs and started to see the women, and her daughter, for who they really were.

What struck me about this week’s episode was the routine normalization of using a chair in daily life, whether we were watching Chelsie feel more confident or Mia’s mom learn that a chair isn’t the end of the world. So often, when we see wheelchair users on screen, everything starts to revolve around the chair, and their actual personalities fade into the background. On PUSH GIRLS, the chair is in the background.

Writing about the show last week, wheelchair user Gary Karp said:

On the whole, my hope for Push Girls is that the same living of life that everyone else is doing is mainly what they’ll be doing, and to the degree their paralysis is even an issue, the audience will get that it’s far less an issue than people generally think.

On PUSH GIRLS, the women are showing what it’s like to live an adjusted life to the fullest, which includes rolling with the punches as well as throwing a party to celebrate now and then. It’s a great role model of disability, and it’s also a great role model for life in general, because we all experience adversity and get to decide how we want to respond to it.

Favorite quote, from Auti: “It’s an amazing feeling to know that you can impact somebody’s life.”

If you can’t stand up, stand out! PUSH GIRLS airs on Mondays at 10P.