The Aesthetics of Prosthetics: Aimee Mullins

The Aesthetics of Prosthetics: Aimee Mullins


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\ AIMEE MULLINS: I remember the first time I
saw a pair of my legs in a museum. It was weird.\
\ [Music]\
\ I probably shouldn’t be telling you all that.\
\ [Music]\
\ As a teenager, I’m sitting there with basically
the same version of what I’d always had\’97of what most amputees have had since the 30s,
basic kind of wooden legs that are y’know, really for orthopedic shoes. Now, not as a
teenager, not ever will I be wearing an orthopedic shoe. So I was shoving this flat foot into,
it was kind of like a little motorcycle boot. Not a big heel, but probably an inch. It was
pitching me a little bit forward so my knees and my hips and my lower back were gonna take
that impact, but as a teenager we do ridiculous things for vanity and I was doing that. So
I was traveling with a man who was responsible for developing the cheetah leg. We were sitting
in this airport ready to board a plane. He looked down and said y’know, I can’t believe
you’re doing that to your back and to your knees. That’s just\’97it’s really bad and
you need to just accept it. You are a double amputee. You should accept that. And I\’97I
remember being like not even knowing where to start with my rebuttal. Uh, I have accepted
it. I live it every day, but also why should I be immune to experiencing the same thing
that every other teenager is experiencing and furthermore why is that I can go to Madame
Tussaud’s wax museum and see a leg that absolutely in every way replicates a human leg but I
can’t have one to wear with a high heel? With any kind of an elevated heel? And I thought,
wait a second, why is there never\’97why have I never met somebody who went to art school
working in a prosthetic lab? It’s this area where it’s usually\’97the role of aesthetic
is abandoned. \ \
And when I say aesthetic, I’m not talking about the need to have something that looks
human, it just has to be beautiful to the wearer and has to be something that evokes
a sense of ownership and confidence. So there is something about that very intimate relationship
between us and our assistive medical devices that needs to be honored. Whether it’s your
eyeglasses or your contacts, why shouldn’t they be custom? Why shouldn’t they allow you
to feel proud of it? Developments in the world of prosthetics are happening in leaps and
bounds. Just the other day, I got two new sets of legs. One was the Biomes from a company
called iWalk out of Massachusetts, but it was really the sockets. It’s a new kind of
socket for me that completely changed my alignment. I mean, I actually got taller and the legs
weren’t any taller than my old legs, but I was almost a half inch taller simply from
standing straight. For the first time in my life, my alignment is allowing me to stand
perfectly straight and perfectly still so I’m not constantly fighting y’know and moving
my muscles around to hold a stable position which is something I just had gotten used
to my entire life in the sense of I’ve adapted to what didn’t work and made it work and now
you don’t have to make it work anymore. You can get something that fits your body properly,
so I’m really curious to see as we add, continue to add assistive medical devices to our bodies,
what does that look like with our locomotion? And y’know what are the new kinds of beautiful
movements we’ll come up with?\ \
I’m begging all of you to go out and subscribe to THNKR! }

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49 Comments

  1. I'm sure I'll hear whining over this, but I get sick of this shit. People say they don't want you to treat them differently, then THEY make a big deal over their differences. Say she's hot-you're objectifying her. Say she's done just as well as "normal" people-you're patronizing her. Which is it? Yeah, you're special & unique, just like everybody else. You know how to keep people thinking about your differences? Keep talking about it. It causes people like me to stop giving a damn, either way.

  2. I think you may have misinterpreted the purpose of this message. This woman and the people like her do have their differences and they have the right to be proud of the work they have done in order to improve the way they live their lives. There is always another way to think about these issues so that it is not patronizing or objectifying. Yes she is beautiful, you can stand in awe of that. Yes she has made astounding strides to improve prosthesis, you can marvel at that.

  3. Recognizing difference does not equal boxing someone into a category in which they do not belong. It also does not mean that you are a bad person for not understanding them or their abilities. This is not about covering differences or glorifying them. This is about taking pride in the reality of your own condition and making the best of every situation. These sorts of things do exist, and by sweeping these people under the rug we do them a disservice. That is is the message which Aimee spreads.

  4. Yeah, it's such a burden to live in a world with these confusing people with no legs. Why can't they just make up their minds! Do they want legs or not? Why do they have to keep throwing their life-choices in our faces? Why don't they have a little compassion for the rest of us, who don't want to think about these things? It boggles the mind.

  5. Yes, well I'm dreadfully sorry I befuddled your mind with my comment. What a shame. Looks like quite a few other people understood it just fine, so there's hope for you yet. Perhaps you should start by eliminating your totally fabricated charge of my saying that being an amputee is a "life choice". You seem to be the only one who's confused, here. Just read it slower and sound out the words until you get it. Judging by your comment, it shouldn't take you more than a week or so. Good luck!

  6. the second i get my lgs cut off and wake up after them trying to fix em is fuck it just give me some robot running legs and ill be good

  7. Wow, you're truly clueless. I'm also a DBKA (Ret Lt. Cmdr IDF Special Forces) and have it even harder as each of my stumps is much shorter, but I know what it takes to live her type of high-profile, world-champion-athlete lifestyle. To give you a tiny idea of what it's like: imagine strapping a 200lb pack to your back for the rest of your life (I use 200% more energy than 'normal' people do), then spend all day/every day balancing on 2' stilts all the while enduring pain 20x greater than a GSW.

  8. …and as if all that wasn't enough, we do all this with a straight face, not wincing in excruciating agony that hospitalize most individuals. Then, just for the sake of being truly amazing, I've climbed Everest, Marathoner, Ironman World-Champion, pilot, big wave surfer, Musher,, BASE jumper, National and World Champion Marksman, world traveler, Astrophysicist, Pi Society, Multimillionaire, Amateur Rally racer, Baja 1000 finisher, RAAM finisher, etc. We amputees lead very interesting lives.

  9. Seems to me you're focusing on her being an amputee while this video is mainly about bringing aesthetics into prosthesis design and the importance of it for people who have the misfortune to miss a limb or more. She had the chance to get amputated below the knees, allowing her thighs muscle to develop normally, making her hot, even with prosthesis (well, natural-looking ones). BTW, "she's hot" is an objective statement, not an objectifyization, or any kind of P.C. new pointless concept.

  10. I couldn't give less of a damn what or whether you think of me. I won't remember YOUR name after I hit the post button below. I don't expect people like you to understand what I'm talking about. You seem angry & confused. Where you came up with any of the totally contrived questions you conjured up is beyond me. Some of it just doesn't make any sense at all. Thanks for giving it your best shot, though. You're special, & you should take pride in giving it your best no matter your situation.

  11. I hear what you are saying, however I have a basic disagreement. She is beautiful, which is different from saying she is hot. I don't think saying anyone is doing as well as "normal" people is sensible, since there are no normal people. I don't really see any relevance in Millard's comment either.

  12. Who said I was angry? I'm just being very frank about the way a lot of other people, including myself, feel about it. I'm not passive aggressively patronizing or talking down to anyone like missluvsVFF is, below. Everyone has a right to their opinion, whether it's a popular one or not. This is mine. "Look @ how well I'm doing in my handicapped state, but don't think of me as handicapped. Don't treat me different or mention it, but look @ how great I am in spite of it!" …..Congratulations? IDK.

  13. As an amputee I find this comment "spot on". I am.. lets say slightly irritated with these amputee motivational speakers. Well put, happy to see some people not buying into this emotional garbage.

  14. Damn I fucking teared up when she said the Iwalk legs allowed her to stand actually straight. Those things are too fucking amazing. I can't imagine being able to walk up or down hills etc like a normal person. That would be a true miracle. Too bad they're over $35k

  15. It's just a four minute and thirty five second way of asking people interested in the Arts to consider a career in prosthetics.

    Genuine, "Hay, look at me! I'm just a normal person even though ____!" speeches get way more press. 😛

  16. Well, even though you make it seem effortless, it doesn't come as naturally to some of us as it obviously does to you. Thanks for stopping by. Take care, now!

  17. People who left comments here are so cruel and senseless, careless. You just don't understand her and what she's talking about, that's why most of you are so disrespectfull…You don't understand what does it mean to be disabled. And I wish you never discover it , but life is unpredictable…

  18. He didn't. He just wanted to be heard. Whether it made ANY fucking sense or not, that wasn't his point. I DO feel sorry for people like him.

  19. wow youre completely normalizing able people and you wonder why people think youre a piece of shit? people get shit for their differences all the time and go through things you never do. theyre NOT just like everybody else. embrace the differences, its what makes them, them. youre supposed to treat everyone well and embrace who they are. fuck you

  20. And why is it always a battle to get one's insurance company to pay for something that makes anyone who has endured something that is on "this level" of debilitating?
    As an amputee, I can vouch for the depression, fear, and anger that one feels thru out the recovery. And its always upsetting when the insurance company wants you to feel empowered or grateful, when you've gained the ability to hobble around, praying you can return to work or walk around for several hours without causing to much damage to your residual limb; even tho you dream of running or dancing to the level you were at before.
    When you are that person, it is NOT uncommon to consider the merits of biting that bullit.

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