The Disability Face

No, I’m not talking about Derping Out, although for some reason, derping is often associated with disability. And celebrities forgetting where they are.


But I’m talking about people who are otherwise totally in control of their facial muscles, doing this weird thing with their face when they see a disabled person. The face goes something like this:

___                                                                                       ____


In case your brain doesn’t automatically make faces out of lines, this expression is one with a disappointed mouth and slightly sad eyes. It’s usually understood by other humans to mean, “Jesus, this sucks,” or more accurately, “I pity your entire existence.” It is also used on puppies and children.

It is what I call, “The Disability face,” for two reasons—1. Because it’s the most common expression I encounter when in public in my wheelchair (as opposed to floating on my usual cloud), and 2. Because I assume that something is going wrong with the way your face works—much like a disability—when it screws up like that.  In case you don’t believe that Disability Face actually happens, here’s some famous people encountering people with disabilities. Aka, the looks I get from other bus passengers, passer-byers, and cashiers, almost daily:


There’s a disabled person right behind Nick’s right ear, I swear.


On today’s episode, the camera man is a wheelie


She looks way better roaring.

And here’s me when I get Disability-Faced:


All wheelies look like Joe.

An if you thought Disability Face was only a human trait, think again:


Be smarter than the apes. Stop the disability face.



  1. I solemnly swear that from now on, I’ll only make that face when I see someone murdering the English/Portuguese languages. Or puppies. Puppies will always get that face. The face I make when I see kittens is not PG13 for the internet. But seriously, I love your post and your humor, and I’m pretty sure that I have never made that face in my life. But I’ll keep an eye out for it.

  2. Haha, omg, hilarious. I love your sense of humor. I don’t think I have a disability face, but I do make that face when I see bad grammar or someone I respect posting one of those Facebook quizzes.

  3. Yup, see – this – exactly what I’m talking about.

    And I think it can be more generically termed ‘The Pity Face’. I’ve been on the receiving end of it for other reasons, and it makes me want to throw things.

  4. Pingback: Signs and Symptoms of Internslized Oppression | kdub155

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