“Real” housewives have their shows, so do cooks, bounty hunters, and any number of other professionals and social-types. But seldom are there shows that represent the community of people living with disabilities. And when there are, it’s even rarer to see the characters develop as people without focusing on the disability. It’s always the elephant in the room. That is, until now.
In early June, the Sundance Channel debuted Push Girls—a reality show about four women who are friends and who all use wheelchairs. The show’s premise is based on the everyday lives of the women, their friendships, relationships and the numerous events they share together. The women—Angela, Auti, Mia and Tiphany—go to work, flirt, shop, and talk about men while hardly mentioning the fact that they all live life in a wheelchair. What gives this show “wheels” is the manner in which it refreshingly focuses on the women and not the disability. But there is still the reality that these women all live with paralysis. Angela, Auti, and Tiphany incurred injuries during car accidents while Mia had a blood vessel burst in her spinal cord when she was a teenager that left her paralyzed. All of that aside, the women have more pressing things to discuss: Angela is a former model looking to get back in, Auti was a dancer before her injury, Tiphany is still in love with her ex-boyfriend, while Mia is unsure of whether she should move in with hers.
While the show comes from a perspective of the not-so-common, attractive women in accessorized wheelchairs point of view, the audience quickly gels into a mindset befitting the ladies themselves. The ladies are people living with disabilities, not disabled people. The show educates those unfamiliar with the disabled community by opening up the ladies’ entire lives. The elephant in the room disappears in favor of an entertaining reality show.
The underlying theme viewers will come away with is the ladies’ perceptions of themselves. The wheelchairs aren’t inhibiting at all, rather—like Louboutin high heels or Gucci-framed glasses—they are merely another accessory. Wheelchairs draw enough attention on their own, but wheelchairs with 26-inch tires demand it.