Why is it called Crips on Celluloid?


The term Crip has undergone a significant transformation within the disability community, shifting from a pejorative term used to demean individuals with disabilities to a reclaimed word that represents empowerment, self-identification, and community. This response will explore the reasons why “Crip” is no longer considered pejorative, delving into its historical context, evolution, and how it has been reappropriated as a symbol of pride, resilience, and unity within the disability community.

Historical Context:

The term Crip originated as a derogatory slang term derived from the word cripple, which historically carried negative connotations. It was used to demean, marginalise, and dehumanise individuals with disabilities, perpetuating ableist attitudes and reinforcing societal stereotypes.

Reclaiming Language:

The disability community, inspired by other marginalised groups, embarked on a process of reclaiming language as a means of empowerment. This reclaiming process aimed to challenge and subvert the negative associations attached to words like Crip and redefine them on their own terms.

Re-appropriation as Empowerment:

Reclaiming Crip is a form of linguistic empowerment. By embracing the term, individuals within the disability community have sought to dismantle its pejorative status and transform it into a source of pride, resilience, and self-identification. It signifies a rejection of societal norms and an assertion of disabled individuals' right to define themselves.

Shifting Perspectives:

The reclamation of Crip reflects a shift in perspectives within the disability community. It challenges the notion that disability is inherently negative or something to be ashamed of. Instead, it emphasises the recognition and celebration of disability as an integral part of one's identity and experience.

Unity and Community:

The use of Crip as a self-identifier fosters a sense of unity and community among disabled individuals. It serves as a rallying point, promoting solidarity and a shared understanding of the experiences and challenges faced by the disability community. The term helps create a space where disabled individuals can come together, support one another, and advocate for their rights.

Challenging Ableism:

Reclaiming Crip is an act of resistance against ableism and the societal devaluation of disabled lives. It challenges the ableist narratives that perpetuate stereotypes and discrimination. By embracing the term, individuals assert their agency and challenge the notion that disability equates to weakness or inferiority.

Empowerment and Visibility:

The re-appropriation of Crip empowers disabled individuals to take control of their own narratives and identities. It allows them to be seen and heard on their own terms, promoting visibility and recognition of their experiences, perspectives, and contributions. It is a way to reclaim power and assert the value and worth of disabled lives.


The transformation of Crip from a pejorative term to an empowering self-identifier exemplifies the resilience and strength of the disability community. Through reclaiming language, disabled individuals challenge societal norms, celebrate their identities, and foster unity. The re-appropriation of Crip serves as a symbol of pride, resilience, and empowerment. It represents a collective effort to challenge ableism, redefine disability on one's own terms, and advocate for a more inclusive and equitable society.