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Definition(s): Ableism, Bodymind, Carework, Consent, Full-spectrum Doula, Radical Doula, Rites of Passage, Sliding Scale

Ableism: “A system of assigning value to people’s bodies and minds based on societally constructed ideas of normalcy, productivity, desirability, intelligence, excellence, and fitness. These constructed ideas are deeply rooted in eugenics, anti-Blackness, misogyny, colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism. This systemic oppression that leads to people and society determining people’s value based on their culture, age, language, appearance, religion, birth or living place, “health/wellness”, and/or their ability to satisfactorily re/produce, “excel” and “behave.” You do not have to be disabled to experience ableism” (Lewis, 2022).

Working definition by @TalilaLewis, updated January 2022, developed in community with disabled Black/negatively racialized folk, especially @NotThreeFifths. Read more:

Bodymind: “A term used to challenge the idea the body and mind are experienced separately (Descartes). Written in various ways, Bodymind or Body-mind, this usage foregrounds the understanding that experiences of the bodymind are integrated (Price)” (Critical Disability Studies Collective, 2022).

Disability justice and the use of the term bodymind are taught by ANTEUP! and Sins Invalid through the work of Dr. Bianca Laureano, Patty Berne, and others. All folks are encouraged to take care of their body and their mind as needed and access to support for this is a human right.

Read Skin, Tooth, and Bone: The Basis of Movement is Our People, A Disability Justice Primer, 2nd Ed.

Carework: “Carework refers, simply, to the work of caring for others, including unpaid care for family members and friends, as well as paid care for others. Caring work includes taking care of children, the elderly, the sick, and the disabled, as well as doing domestic work such as cleaning and cooking. As reproductive labor, carework is necessary to the continuation of every society. By deploying the term “carework,” scholars and advocates emphasize the importance of recognizing that care is not simply a natural and uncomplicated response to those in need, but actually hard physical, mental, and emotional work, which is often unequally distributed through society (Meyer 2000). Because care tends to be economically devalued, many scholars who study carework emphasize the skill required for care, and the importance of valuing care (Meyer 2000; Daly 2001)” (Misra, 2007).

Watch Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha discuss Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice at the Disability Intersectionality Summit in 2018.

Read 10 Principles of Disability Justice as articulated by Patty Berne and Sins Invalid in 2015.

Consent: “Consent is a voluntary agreement, made without coercion, between persons with decision-making capacity, knowledge, understanding, and autonomy…Consent applies to all forms of interaction. It creates a space where the safety and agency of all parties is honored by using healthy communication and negotiation to craft informed boundaries…It is a part of everyday life, present in all forms of human interaction (not just sex)” (Consent Academy, 2022).

Full-spectrum Doula: “a support person who brings the doula model of care to any pregnancy discourse and outcome… A full spectrum doula acknowledges that those who have had past traumatic experiences regarding pregnancy and childbirth carry those experiences with them, and they will ultimately have a different experience of pregnancy than many might expect. We provide support for any situation, unexpected or otherwise. We are reproductive justice advocates and…believe that every pregnant woman and human deserves dignity, respect and support” (Johnson, 2017).

“full-spectrum birth workers actively practice being open and aware of the diverse reproductive needs and experiences people have, in light of their identity, background, preferences, lived experiences, and so on…they prioritize being accessible, inclusive, and culturally appropriate…The history of full-spectrum doula work precedes the more mainstream use of the term, as midwives, activists, and other community care workers have served in this role for friends, family, and folks in their community across history and across cultures” (BADT, 2021).

Watch Miriam Z. Pérez talk about full-spectrum doulas at Oklahoma State University’s Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Reproductive and Sexual Health Regional Workshop in 2011 here: Part 1 and Part 2.

Radical Doula: “being a Radical Doula is committing to the hard work of facing issues of racism, classism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia head-on in our work with pregnant and parenting people. It means understanding birth as just one instance in a wide spectrum of pregnancy-related experiences that include abortion, miscarriage and adoption, and understanding why doula support across that spectrum makes sense. It’s about providing non-judgmental and unconditional support to pregnant and parenting people, ultimately in service of social justice” (Pérez, 2013).

Rite of Passage: “ceremonial event, existing in all historically known societies, that marks the passage from one social or religious status to another. Many of the most important and common rites of passage are connected with the biological crises, or milestones, of life—birth, maturity, reproduction, and death—that bring changes in social status and, therefore, in the social relations of the people concerned. Other rites of passage celebrate changes that are wholly cultural, such as initiation into societies composed of people with special interests” (Alexander, 2020).

Sliding Scale: “The sliding scale is a tool that allows for a product or service to be obtained at multiple price points based on the circumstances of the purchaser. The sliding scale represents the idea that financial resources, including income, are not and should not be the only determining factor in whether or not someone can access services/care/etc” (Cunningfolk, 2015)

The Green Bottle image and framework were originally created by Alexis J. Cunningfolk with additions from Britt Hawthorne.


Alexander, Bobby C. and Norbeck, Edward. “rite of passage”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 10 Nov. 2020.

Birthing Advocacy Doula Training. 2021. Everything You Want to Know about Full Spectrum Doula Work.

Brown, Jenna. “What Is a ‘Full Spectrum Doula?”.” Love Over Fear Wellness & Birth, 20 Feb. 2021.

Consent Academy. 2022. The Consent Primer Foundations for Everyday Life. Web.

Critical Disability Studies Collective. 2022. Terminology. University of Minnesota.

Dukeheart, C. 2011. Doulas: Exploring A Tradition of Support. NPR.

Hawthorne, Britt. “Embracing an Equitable Sliding Scale.” Embracing Equity, Embracing Equity, 2021.

Johnson, Andi. “What Exactly Is a Full Spectrum Doula?” The Offbeat Doula, 25 Oct. 2017.

Lewis, T. 2022. Working definition of Ableism January 2022 Update. Talila A Lewis. Blog.

Misra, J. 2007. Carework. In  G. Ritzer (Ed.), Blackwell encyclopedia of sociology. Blackwell Publishing. Blackwell Reference Online.

Pérez, M. Z. 2013. So what is a Radical Doula anyway? Radical Doula. Blog.

Piepzna-Samarasinha, L. 2018. Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice. Disability Intersectionality Summit. Online.

SACE. 2022. Definitions. Understanding Transformative Justice and Restorative Justice. Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton. Web.

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