Rachelle Friedman Chapman's Boudoir Photo Shoot Proves Disabilities Don't Limit Sexiness Or Sexuality
We're not often shown positive representations of sexuality and disability together. In fact, we're not often shown any representations of sexuality and disability together. But Rachelle Friedman Chapman, the "Paralyzed Bride," is out to change this narrative by starring in a gorgeous boudoir photo shoot to prove that disability doesn't limit sexuality. As Bustle's S.E. Smith put it recently, "Disability is sexy, too" — and these photos are hot.
Chapman became known as "The Paralyzed Bride" after an injury sustained at her bachelorette party in May of 2010 left her paralyzed from the chest down. Her story, however, is one of inspiration; although the wedding was postponed following her accident, Chapman married her now-husband, Chris, in 2011, and they had a daughter via surrogate in April of 2015. Through it all, she has become a powerful voice for positivity. She is now a highly sought after motivational speaker, activist, and writer on disability. In fact, just 13 weeks after her injury, she began participating in modified versions of some of her favorite sports, such as rugby and surfing. Soon, she was being featured in national news outlets and publications like The Today Show and Cosmopolitan. Chapman deserves so much credit for her courage, bravery, and determination — I bet you're already inspired!
And Chapman's latest project will make you respect her even more, as she takes on issues of body image, sexuality, and disability. Stereotypes frequently suggest that disabled people are not attractive or sexual beings at all, which obviously causes harm to those who have disabilities. So she decided to take this issue head on by starring in a sexy boudoir photo shoot and sharing the pictures with the public. "I hope it will make people think. People with disabilities still have sexuality, and honestly, I'm tired of being something that we can't talk about as a society," she told The Huffington Post.
She is not in her wheelchair in the photos, and Chapman says that this move was intentional. "I'm doing this for those who can't see past a wheelchair," Chapman said to HuffPo. "I'm doing it to show that we are capable, sexual beings and we are not to be overlooked. I'm not glamorizing disability. My paralysis is an awful part of my life and I hope for a cure. But, in the meantime I need to love myself." While Chapman does struggle with self-confidence, she doesn't at all hesitate to talk about the role that sex plays in her life. "I love my body now and I'm not afraid to talk about sexuality intimacy or beauty," she said. "There is no shame in talking about sexuality. ... I don't want to hide anymore. I want to put a different face to disability."
Not only that, but Chapman is taking this photo shoot one step further by turning her message into a social media campaign. She wants others to be inspired to love themselves and share this self-love. "I'm hoping it will inspire others to just focus on the things they love about themselves and not be so critical," she said to People. "I'm encouraging everyone to get on social media and mention something they love about themselves with the hashtag #WhatMakesMeSexy."
Well, what are you waiting for? Let's all go share what we love about ourselves with the #WhatMakesMeSexy hashtag. Because all bodies are amazing, and all bodies deserves to be celebrated.
Images: Courtesy of Rachelle Friedman Chapman