Christian Long

Aimee Mullins: 12 Pairs of Legs

In TED Talks on May 22, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Reflection by DERON M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Aimee Mullins:  12 Pairs of Legs

If I learned one thing from the first two talks from Aimee Mullins that I analyzed, it was that no matter what curveballs or misfortunes life throws at us, we can all adapt and live productive lives.

This talk is no exception.

The talk begins with Aimee describing an encounter she had with about 300 young kids. Instead of having the kids view her as disabled, she found a way to have the kids look at her as “super-abled”. The children without adult influence saw Aimee as just another person and without a so called disability. They saw her as a person with endless possibilities and without any limit as to what she could accomplish.

Even an adult has to admit that Aimee’s disability has given her even more opportunities than she might have had if she was “normal”. Aimee has the ability to change her height, appearance, and function of her legs just by slipping into another pair of prosthetics. Aimee also owes a lot of thanks to TED for getting her name and inspirational story out into the world.

New opportunities in the world on modeling were presented to Aimee as a result of her new found fame. She began to travel all over the world for fashion shows and photo shoots. Some of the photos that Aimee showed in my opinion “pushed the envelope” a little bit, but what in the world of fashion and modeling doesn’t nowadays?

As a result of her modeling success and new found popularity, companies and design firms started lining up to create legs for Aimee to wear. Aimee has legs made of from everything from wood to carbon fiber to polyurethane, also known as the material used in bowling balls. Her pairs of legs all serve a specific function whether that would be for running, modeling, or everyday use. Some of the pairs of legs Aimee displayed during her presentation were abstract and very intriguing to the eye. Her “jellyfish” legs and wooden modeling legs that she had with her on stage especially were very elaborate and interesting to look at.

Aimee concluded her talk with discussing how society’s perception of those who were once considered disabled has changed in the eleven years since her original TED talk in 1998. She feels that society now sees her, not as a person that is limited in enjoying life’s pleasures, but as a person who has the will power and desire to do whatever they feel possible. Just like the young children that were mentioned in the beginning of the talk, society has come to accept Aimee for the person she is, not for the fact that she is “disabled” or her inspirational story.

All of us, no matter what background we are from or what so called disabilities we have in life, are capable of something remarkable in our lives. We just need to realize of potential and pursue our dreams just as Aimee pursued hers.


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