There has been a lot of hype lately involving Bird Box, and the Bird Box Challenge in the blind community. I’ve heard: Bird Box gives an unrealistic view of blindness, and the Bird Box Challenge is dangerous. And this is true. It is definitely not advisable to blind fold yourself and go running through the woods, or drive a car without sight. And being under a blind fold for the first time in a terrifying, life threatening situation is most definitely not the normal feelings of an average blind person going through daily life. But I’m not here to rehash and continue the debate of why Bird Box provides an unrealistic image of blindness; I’m here to provide another perspective, to view Bird Box in a different light. I want to make one thing clear first: I am not in any way discrediting the existing arguments surrounding Bird Box from the blind community, I am simply providing my own and separate opinion.
For those who are unfamiliar with Bird Box, the premise is basically: there is some unknown thing that is super dangerous, and if you see it, you die, hence the need for blind folds. So these people are put in a terrifying situation, and to be safe their sight needs to be taken away. For most people, going blind is one of their top fears, so in order to not die, you would have to do something that scares the daylights out of you. I think this was actually a perfect premise for a horror genre, choosing between the top 2 fears. I think the author was very insightful in this, (yes, it was a book before it was a movie.) It’s a perfect way to strike fear into the hearts of many, which is what horror is all about.
So, It’s a great movie for it’s genre, but does it negatively or positively impact the general public’s view on blindness? As I mentioned earlier, some say that it gives a negative view on the reality of blindness, and yes that may be true. But there are at least two sides to every story, every debate. So could it not also be said then, that it makes a very positive impact on the general view of blindness? This is what I would like to explore.
We are always being told to educate the public on blindness. People are afraid of going blind, and are not quite sure how to interact, or help blind individuals. So as a blind person, I was taught when I went to an orientation center, to educate, educate, educate. How is the public to know that we are independent, and blindness is nothing to fear, if we don’t teach them? But there are not cities, or large populations of blind people. Personally in my community, there is only a handful. So how then will the public at large be educated about blindness, when most people have never even met a blind person?
Bird box has introduced the concept of blindness, and provided a small bit of exposure to the public eye. It has potentially even opened up a few minds on the topic of blindness. Taking a world of people who are forced to maneuver and keep safe without vision, has possibly shown people that things are not impossible as a blind individual. Maybe it’s even desensitized them to their own fear of going blind.
Perhaps watching this film has encouraged people to think about the question of what life would be like without sight. If someone with sight were to stop and think about this, would it not make them start understanding how to accomplish certain tasks without the use of their sight? Would it not therefore give them a little perspective on blindness? Would they not then start to understand blindness just a little bit?
If the sighted community could become aware of blindness, and discover that it is not the end of the world, Then maybe they could start to understand the actual realities of a blind person. And start to accept the independence and value of non-sighted individuals. If they then can start to understand this and view blindness in a different light, then perhaps it will open the doors to an understanding and acceptance of other disabled communities as well.
Being disabled in any way tends to be a taboo. So if one movie can start the ball rolling, start to diminish that taboo, then who am I to complain? If Bird Box introduces the possibility of successfully living with a disability, than I embrace it. I welcome it with open arms!
Safety Tip: If you are dead set on attempting the Bird Box Challenge, note that it is highly advisable to be supervised by a professional blind individual. 😎
This is me! Hope you enjoyed the read. I love questions, so if you
have any, or just a comment, feel free to email them to