Ladies and gentlemen, we have a bit of controversy.
On the newest and bestest version of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” Sarah Herron, the patron saint of all limb-different women, said she was…brace yourself…”born with one arm.”
GASP! But she doesn’t only have one arm! She has, like, one and a HALF arms!
Seriously, I’ve had a number of people ask my opinion about what she said, so here we go…
First of all, Sarah can describe herself however she wants. Let’s just get that out of the way right off the top. If that’s the term she’s comfortable with, then that’s her prerogative. My stance on how a person with a limb-difference is described, or how they describe themselves, has changed over time and it may very well do so again at some point. For now, though, my stance is this:
I’m not going to get my undies in a bunch about it.
Seriously, it’s not that big of a deal. Generally, if someone says a person has “one arm,” what they mean is, they have “one full arm.” And that’s fine. I get it.
What’s funny is that even recently I went on a little rampage when a sports writer called Nick Newell a “one-armed fighter.” It’s a bit different, being that Nick has nearly two full arms, but again…what did the writer mean? He meant Nick has one full arm. That makes sense to me. Not something to be offended by or to get angry about. Educate, by all means, but throw a remote across the room? Nah.
And think about it…do we try to describe tall people by their actual height? Or short people? Usually not. So, it seems to reason that we shouldn’t expect the same when being described by others. In high school my friend Missy affectionately called me, “one point five.” I will not share what I affectionately called her. The nickname fit, ya know? And I remember having those conversations, my friends asking me how they should describe me. I’d be curious if they remember any of my answers, because I really don’t. I assume many of them consisted of, “Uh…I dunno” and the ever popular, “Whatever.”
The truth is, the length of my arm or how someone describes it is so far down on the list of who I am as a person, it’s just not worth worrying about.
That said, sometimes the accuracy is super important. Like when I chose the name for this website. LivingOneArmed.com didn’t ring true for me. Or, frankly, sound as good.
So, now you know my thoughts on the subject.
What are yours?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
P.S. I was only watching The Bachelor because Sarah was on it. And I don’t have cable. And I was sick. Otherwise I would have been watching football. And farting.
That said…I’m totally #TeamSarah. And checkout these awesome tweets I saw last night!
I’m watching the bachelor @onevanillabean haha, I have a crush on the girl missing an arm, her smile/personality loved it!
— JC Gibbs (@JCGibbsDC) January 8, 2013
“Having one arm doesn’t define who I am inside.” Ooh, we think Sarah is pretty awesome. #bachelor
— People magazine (@peoplemag) January 8, 2013
Thanks for the insight, Ryan. My one-year-old daughter Ava is also living one-handed, and I was one of the folks who asked what you thought about it, since it’s bugged me when the media has said “one-armed” in similar situations. It’s not a big deal; sometimes I’m too much of a stickler for accuracy. 🙂 I hadn’t looked at it in that way, that what they mean is one full arm.
Awesome! Thanks for commenting, Allison! Rock on, indeed. 🙂
It does bother me a bit. When a kid says it I gently correct them. When an adult says it I also correct them. Not in a rude or mean way just in a ” that is not actually accurate” kind of way. If my daughter only had one arm it would be a HUGE difference from the “1.5” that she actually has. She has one hand and two arms or as she likes to say ” a baby arm and a mommy arm”. If course this lady said what she is comfortable with and that is her choice . I think the whole show concept is pretty terrible so I really don’t care. How is that for an ” un-pc” answer? Lol…jmo
I’ve only been the mom of a limb different child for a whopping 7 months, but I don’t get into a semantics argument about how much hand she has or doesn’t have. She has a full arm and even a wrist, but her hand did not fully develop. Technically speaking, she does have the tiniest bit of palm to her right hand that she can actually wave (cutest thing ever) or ever so slightly curl around my finger (melt my heart). It wouldn’t be 100% correct to say that my daughter is only one handed because she does have the very slightest bit of hand there. Yet it would be silly to say that she is one-and-a-fourth handed or one-and-a-fifth handed or one-and-some “random fraction” handed. Is is fair to say my daughter was born one handed? Yes. Is it more accurate to say that she actually does have something more there, even the tiniest bit? Yes. For me, it’s easier to say to folks that she’s one handed. If they want to know more, I’ll describe or show off her right arm. I’m guessing for Sarah that she explained it in the simplest terms for someone who may never have been exposed to a limb different person before. And if given the chance I’d bet she’d agree that she has much, much more than just one arm!
3 years ago i lost my hand in a roll over car accident. if you want me to be accurate it was 4 surgeries later and ganggreen that took my hand. 5 mths ago a revision was done on my arm which took an aditional 8 inches off so i could have the new milo hand and fit it properly. sometimes i say half arm some days i concenrate more on my hand loss as it being the most hurtful to me as a 2 handed person should understand. the bottomline is it shouldnt matter. she went on the show to find love not her arm and hand. shes not placed there as a spokes person for the amputee community. she felt it was something he need to know due to the fact that sometimes people in the world are judgemental.
Thanks for commenting, Stephanie! And I totally agree with you that she wasn’t put there as a spokesperson (I hope my sarcasm came through!). So sorry to hear about your ordeal, but I’m happy you found us here. 🙂
My son has a lillte left hand, he has a palm, a thumb, without fingers !!! We call it a little fin!!! Is a fish fin? No but that’s what we call it !!!! Please find something more important to argue, find your self a hobby or a fundraiser to involve your self in !! Because you have too much time on your hands!! What does it matter how Sarah words her limb differance!!! She only has one full arm !!! That’s that.
Maybe I’m in the minority, but I also say I was “born with one arm.” I suppose it’s true that I technically have 1.5. But growing up, people asked me what happened to my “arm” not my “hand.” So after answering that I was “born without it” a zillion times, it kind of stuck that I was “born without my arm.” Plus, I’m not just missing a hand, there’s barely a forearm either. So for me, no forearm = no arm.
But like you said, Ryan, the length of my arm is not something that defines me so I haven’t given it a ton of thought.
And yay for Sarah on The Bachelor! I’m all for #TeamSarah
I was technically born with 1 1/2 legs but I often say I have just one leg. Never thought much about it really.
You’re a good man, Chris. Unless you’re a girl. If so, sorry about that. Wait, not sorry that you’re a girl, I mean… Ah, forget it. Thanks for commenting! 🙂
More than 20 years ago, I lost about half of my leg in a motorcycle accident. Most medical professionals call me a Bk or below the knee amputee. Since day one in my life as an amutee, laughter has been the best medicine. So I don’t spend a ton of time on technicalities, I have one leg because at 16 I was bullet proof. Ok, now I know better but then I was not so wise!
I wont watch the show to completetion but I will root for Sarah!!
Thanks for sharing your experience, Matthew! And I agree, laughter is the best medicine. 🙂
It has been interesting reading about this! I think I have been described and described myself as both missing a hand and missing an arm. It does come down to the individual and how they choose to identify. Know a days I say born without my right hand cause I can make the joke that I don’t do a “one-man show” but a “one-hand show”!
The main thing is we are seeing a beautiful woman with limb difference and while the media will make a big deal about her arm/hand and how she is over-coming obstacles,ect…they are also talking about her personality and the life she is living as a human being! Hopefully that will become the more important thing. That is the exciting thing to me…
I just want to say that I laughed out loud when I read this part: “P.S. I was only watching The Bachelor because Sarah was on it. And I don’t have cable. And I was sick. Otherwise I would have been watching football. And farting”
Thanks for that! Good humor!
My pleasure, Nick. hehe
I agree it is up to each person to decide for themselves how they wish to describe themselves. Each of us has our own package of challenges. Sometimes they are within ourselves and sometimes they are within other people or bureaucracies.
I refuse to allow other peoples opinions bother me and I refuse to back down from bureaucratic nonsense.
Best wishes to every one of you with your package of challenges.
My son was born with congenial aminotic band syndrome went through 13 operations in 12 years he is now 24 I never left it stop him from baseball to basketball to riding quads he did it all. Sarah has a special place in my thoughts. Call it as you want I am so team Sarah! You go girl
That’s so awesome, Tammy! Your son sounds like a great guy. Go Team Sarah!
Just found your site today, I love your point of view! My son is 7 and was born with one hand, as we say it in our house. I guess I have never referred to him as one-armed, never even occurred to me to do so. We call it as it is. I think his biggest obstacle in life is other people’s limited perceptions of his abilities. Other than that, he has no obstacles, that he allows anyway. People amaze me constantly with the things they can do, regardless of their limb deficiency, or disability, or whatever they are dealing with. My son though, especially amazes me…..when he was 5, he threw a baseball up in the air, pitching to himself, and then swung the bat and hit it. I stood there open mouthed as he ran the bases. Thanks for your blog, glad I found it.
Ryan – This is great topic to bring up at the Youth Group Meeting during the Helping Hands Winter Outing next weekend (in MA). It’s going to be an awesome time. We so look forward to seeing you there!
As a five-fingered gal as well, I like to say that I was “born without a hand.” Sarah and I do have some drastic difference in arm length, however. I would never say that I was born without an arm because I use my arm sooooooo much. I don’t know her personally, but aside from a brief moment on camera–where it showed her cutting vegetables and using her arm to steady the pepper she was slicing–I haven’t seen her use her left arm too much. Length does come heavily into play here. My left arm goes all the way down to a functioning wrist, so I have not only that, but also a very useful elbow. I can imagine that, if I didn’t have the elbow, I wouldn’t use the arm as much, and perhaps might also say that I was “born without an arm.” Who knows?
The second point that I want to make is that I felt sad that she thought her one-armed-ness was the reason why she was still single. I don’t think it is, unless she’s letting it hold her back. I’ve never had a problem dating or attracting guys, and about 99% don’t seem to care. If they do care, they’ve likely already removed themselves from the equation and I’ve assumed it’s simply because our personalities aren’t compatible. The only reason why a gorgeous, sweet girl like Sarah is single is that she is looking for the right guy and she simply hasn’t found him yet.
Of course, maybe this Sean dude is the right guy. Right-hand fingers crossed.
Thanks for commenting, Kristy! So good to meet you last weekend. Although, I feel like we need to hangout again so I can hear what you sound like normally. lol Hope you’re feeling better!
Yeah. Ironically, I got sick and had no voice LAST year at HHF as well. I think a lot of people forget what I sound like normally.
So good to meet you, too!
I’m a little behind, but I just stumbled on your blog today.
1) Though I detest “The Bachelor” on moral grounds, I am glad to know that someone with a limb deformity finally made it on prime time TV. I just wish it would happen on a show that would be family friendly!
2) I agree with you completely on letting people define their own differences. I tend to say that I am one handed because it’s easier, but I’m probably more accurately one and a half handed. My left hand is much smaller and I’m missing everything past my metacarpal bones, so I really can’t use my hand like a “normal” hand and I end up doing most things one-handed. While I don’t really mind how people describe me, I don’t like it when I say I’m one-handed and people (who do not have limb differences) feel the need to correct me as to how I should define myself.
3) I knew my husband was the man for me when he held my left hand. He loves me for who I am and has always made it clear that he sees beauty in who God made me to be. I hope that this young woman finds the same thing, but I highly doubt it could ever happen on “The Bachelor.”
My sister was born with one arm and growing up with her she was born with her arm like that and it’s inspiring to just know some one with one are