[Image description: A photoset of animated gifs showing Toph’s various cracks about being blind.]]
Toph’s Pointing Out That She Is Blind Photoset | Requested by puzzlegirlsandpoprocks
Toph is the best.
Toph’s blindness was one of the most excellently handled aspects of AtLA because it wasn’t treated like a disability. So often in shows (and especially children’s animation) disabled characters are limited to apperances in “very special episodes” where the main characters have to learn a lesson that these people are capable “in spite of” their handicaps, like that episode of Kim Possible wherein Kim constantly stumbles over herself around Felix. This approach is often just as insulting as making them the butt of jokes, because it’s patronizing and it limits the amount of roles disabled characters are allowed to have.
Avatar challenged that stereotype with Teo, and then sent a giant middle finger its way by introducing Toph. She’s turned what would otherwise be a disability into an advantage, and she’s not afraid to crack jokes about it. She functions well enough that the other characters often forget that she is blind, but at the same time it’s an integral part of her bending and allows her to be the greatest earthbender ever. It sends a powerful message that having a physical disability does not make you less of a person, and often affords you a unique perspective that the so-called “normal” people never get to experience.
One of the many reasons I love this show.
This was the post I was talking about. So well written!
Reblogging again for the perfection that is Toph. I wish there was a way to adequately express HOW PERFECT she is. She will always, ALWAYS be the most realistic and heartfelt character of the show for me.
As much as I really love Toph, I’ve also seen a lot of disabled people dislike how her blindness was shown as an “advantage.” The “Disability Superpower” trope is really nothing to flaunt as a positive. While she is a strong character with definite flaws, her experience doesn’t speak for actual blind kids without superpowers. That being said, Toph is one of the better examples of the trope, you can tell at least SOME research went into incorporating real setbacks specific to blind people. Still, it was far from accurate.
TL;DR I love Toph too, but I think claiming that she allows non-disabled viewers to understand the blind experience is going a little far.
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