Monday, June 17, 2013

"Derp" Is Ableist and Offensive- Stop Using It (at least around me)

In the past year or so, the term "derp" has become rather popular with folks under forty. According to Know Your Meme, its first use was in the late nineties, but it suddenly gained popularity and became a feature in myriad image memes and "rage comics" fairly recently. It's used in various ways:

Noun: You are a derp.

Verb: You derped.
Adjective: You are derpy.
Adverb: You acted derpy derpy. 

This is one of those instances where I hate the Internet for its ability to spread "harmless fun" that's actually extremely oppressive and offensive. If you just look at that Know Your Meme page, you'll see lots of images of people with crossed eyes or below societally average levels of attractiveness behind the word "derp" or its forms. One of the most egregious examples is that gorram Derpy Hooves from My Little Pony:

I've actually been given a direct explanation from a Bronie over this character (on my favorite site, OTI, too, of all places- go figure), and he eventually comes down as defending it.Between this and other discussions about ableism and objectification, the same dude has basically pulled every trick in the book parallel to the MRAs arguing for sexism in video games- stuff like "But it's never said she has a disability, so no harm, no foul," and, "But we genuinely love the character/ what if people  enjoy it?" and, "Isn't it empowering that she exists  at all?" and (one of my favorites), "Well, how dare you speak for persons with disabilities- YOU'RE objectifying them and removing their autonomy by not letting them speak for themselves!" So I don't really think  he understands or  is willing to listen; he just thinks Derpy is funny and adorable and cool because she's "different," and he basically doesn't give two shits about if someone else gets hurt by something he finds amusing, because he finds it amusing.  And I think his behavior is pretty representative of the whole Bronie community- after all, they're the ones defending Derpy. 

I honestly don't understand  how someone else can't understand how Derpy Hooves is offensive, though. I've seen the episode she first appeared in, as well as the one that featured her as a larger supporting character- the punch line is always her disability, and she has a speech impediment in the original version of her first appearance (because, knowing they'd effed up, the producers behind  the show ret-conned it after enough anger from the disability community and gave her a new voice). She's a pony with disabilities, and she's funny because she has disabilities. How is that hard to understand? What happened there was a bunch of (mostly white) dudes thought she was funny and harped on the forums to get her a larger role on the show because they wanted to laugh at (not with) her more. They assigned to her the word that had been floating around  the Interwebs for a while: "Derpy." And the writer was insensitive/unaware enough to roll with it in her quest to please her "fans" (and I have trouble believing some of the Bronies actually like the show and are "real" fans). So then a character whose only purpose is to be laughed at for her anomalies became a semi-regular pony on that show, and  the Bronies would  get up in arms (over the Internet) to preserver her and all her "derpines." Take a look at this, one of the images the Bronies spread when trying to keep her around:

Notice the textual simulation of speech impediment there, the derpspeak? "Ai promise," "scurry," "I will learn to talk better." That shit's not funny, and it's not harmless, it's offensive and colonialist- because when you think about it, it's  quite similar to Blackface and notions  that Whitey Knows Best. Know Your Meme has  a page on her, and I think  they lean more toward the Bronies- they don't say why some people found Derpy offensive, they just say  that some people did. I guess they don't really argue overtly in favor of the Bronies' position, but neutral explanation is too often a form  of obfuscating the ethical issues and, really, just amounts to tacit consent. Seriously, one of the most frustrating  things I encounter online with douchebag MRAs and  ableist champions is their need to "explain" things, thus making excuses, thus leaving no room for changing the status quo. 

If you're still having  trouble following me, let me spell it out for you more clearly.

"Derp" has spread like wildfire as a replacement for "retarded." It, like the pejorative sense of "retarded," has underlying ableist assumptions, hierarchical structures, and normative values embedded within it. You don't believe me? Look at some of those pictures on Know Your Meme again. And look at some of these- they all either have "derp" directly in the image, or use what I'm calling "derpspeak," the incredibly offensive and ableist dialect meant to simulate cognitive or learning disability; some use actual disabled persons, others have modified the faces to make the  person in the image look more "derp-like," as in look more like stereotypical imagery of mentally disabled individuals:

I'm hoping you're understanding me now. These memes are all attempts at humor, and the punchline is disability. That's exploitative and entirely oppressive of persons with disabilities.

And here's the thing. The "no harm, no foul," or "all in good fun," arguments  are deplorable. All that does is prove how little consideration persons with disabilities get on a regular basis, and just how entirely dominant the paradigm of ableism  really is. Sure, no harm from an ablesit perspective- it's not like those pictures are meant for anyone with a disability, so what's the big deal, right? Well, it's not like white guys saying the n-word is meant for black people, yet that's obviously frowned upon. All in good fun? Well, some people like offensive humor, sure, but when the community being made fun  of has no say in the matter, the joke is 100% at their expense- and they don't even get the opportunity to strike back. They're being completely suppressed.

If you use the word "derp," think about the last few times you used it, and why. What other words could you have used? Chances are, probably "retarded" at worst, or "stupid" at best. But whether you realize it or not, even "stupid" is ableist, too, because it implies social structures that place normative values on levels of intelligence, cognition, and capability. It may take more words, but it's never entirely necessary to say a shirt looks "stupid" or a movie was "stupid"- you can say the shirt looks too nineties, or the movie was badly written. And seriously, I doubt I need to convince you that saying something is "retarded" if not talking about an actual diagnosis is ableist, too. I mean, come on, "retarded" has become so dominantly pejorative that it was removed from the gorram DSM. And  that's after being in it for ages as a legitimate diagnosis to give to persons with learning delays. The people determining the  new DSM received enough entreaties from disability rights  advocates that they were convinced there were too many negative meanings and undermeanings  culturally surrounding the word, so they changed the diagnosis to try to add some humanity back for persons with that diagnosis. They realized that 90% of the people that could hear a legitimate  diagnosis would associate it  with a slur, an insult, with  something you say when you're pissed at a situation or person or thing ("This is retarded, I should have been home  an hour ago!" "Wow, good job dropping that bowl, retard!" "Ugh, this  knife won't cut, it's so retarded!").

I have a brother that was diagnosed as mildly retarded (among other things), back  when that was still a diagnosis to be had. I've never found that word "funny" or casual. And I think it's really messed up how people tell me I'm being hypersensitive and that I need  to let it go or take a chill pill or have a sense of humor or whatever the fuck it is that day when I ask them not to say it. I've given up on some people (and in various ways- some by not bothering to ask anymore, others, I've had other reasons piled on top to not want to hang out with them, anyway), but others I know just hold it in and then let it slip every now and then by accident around me, meanwhile tossing "retarded" out for every other mildly annoying, unpleasant, or dissatisfying thing or situation they encounter when I'm not there. That's actually almost worse- it's being deliberately deceptive about what is, ultimately, an ableist insult and expletive. Because it's one thing  to refrain from saying "fuck" in front of your parents but dropping the f-bomb  every other sentence with your friends; it's another thing to use the equivalent of a racial slur in some company  but not others. One is  just about being "proper" or whatever;  another is about not being oppressive.

I know I'm  being morally high-horse-ee, here, but if you're a friend that cares enough about me to read this, then you'd most likely understand my perspective. And if you're someone that only knows me through the blog, then realize I have a very intimate history with oppression in a lot of forms, and ableism in particular. In either case, if you feel like I'm being annoyingly self-righteous or something, I want you to consider how quickly whistle-blowers on various "ism"s get accused of being hypersensitive or seeking out things to be angry about. And think about how many times you can remember someone claiming something was oppressive of persons with disabilities actually being taken seriously- you probably can't think of any, or can count them on one hand. Maybe Derpy Hooves and/or the stuff about "retarded" being removed from the DSM I just talked about are all you can come up with, hard as you try. I wouldn't be surprised, nor judge you negatively for it- it's society's fault, not yours. But think about that- why do we all hear so much  more about other "isms" in society, when we don't even consider ableism as an option?

And I want you to consider the possibility that this isn't because there's nothing to get upset about, but rather that the positionality and perspective of persons with disabilities is so marginalized that those perspectives aren't even in the backs of the minds of the majority of your everyday person. So even acknowledging they have some claim to or semblance of legitimacy is actually impossible for some people to grasp. It's like trying to describe the taste and texture of Provolone cheese to someone that's never even had milk, let alone any other form of cheese- that person you're trying to explain it to will never fully understand until you put a piece of Provolone in their hand and they eat it. Even if it's sitting on the counter, they won't entirely get it until it's in their mouth.

I think there are genuinely people that, even after somehow getting connected to disability, be it because someone they know or love is born with it or becomes disabled, or they themselves become disabled- there are some people that still won't understand entirely because ableism is so hegemonic, so in-control, so dominant. So even a person that has an accident and ends up in a wheelchair devalues disability and thinks it makes them less of a person- ableism has trained them, subconsciously and indirectly, to believe that about theirself*.

Now apply this outwardly. Ableism conditions everybody to devalue disability and not even realize when a physical or speech act is oppressive. So you get people running around tossing words like "retarded" and "stupid" and, yes, "derp," around like it ain't no thang. So 
I'm not saying that using "derp" makes anybody a bad person- not if they don't knowingly act out ableism, at least. Often times, we're so caught up in discourses and hierarchies that we don't even realize when we're acting in ways that reinforce them.

Of course, if you defend the status quo once its oppressive nature is exposed to you, you're an asshole. 

But I do ask  a few things of anybody that has taken the time to read this.

1) Think about the power of words and how they serve to reinforce discourses of oppression and marginalization. (Also, keep in mind that by "discourse" I don't mean just speech patterns, but also norms of behavior and interaction.)

2) Consider that "derp" is a new(ish), Inernet-savvy way of saying "retarded," meaning it's pejorative and devaluing of disability and/or anomaly. 

3) Consider checking yourself and avoiding using it in the future. Maybe even consider calling it out if you see it being  used, either online or in person.

And of my friends that may be reading this, I respectfully ask you to not use "derp" around me. I'm sick of it, and I know none of you are assholes (like, say, this guy). If you honestly feel like I'm somehow oppressing you by making that request, then, well, talk to me. Or, you know, don't, and just use it when I'm not around- but don't be all shocked and alarmed when I call BS on you if you slip in my presence. 

*Not a typo- separating corporeal mind from physical body is impossible, so the physical body directly influences the overall corporeal definition of self. They devalue their physical structure in their tangible body, but they also devalue the metaphysical makings of them as a person.


  1. Very interesting- I was completely unaware of those connotations, will be more vigilant in the future!

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  3. Thanks for an interesting read.

    I admit to being pretty unaware of disability theory, ableism and arguments about them. I understand what you're saying about offensive language and find those 'derp' images you put up quite sickening.

    And thinking about it, while I'd never use 'retarded' or 'derp' as insults I use 'stupid' pretty regularly, usually aimed at people.

    I work in a research lab. A chemistry research lab and.......well with the best will in the world towards others, if an undergrad can't understand safety instructions such as for instance 'this will burn you, wear gloves', 'this will destroy your lungs, don't take it out of the fumehood', 'if you don't wear these then in an accident you will lose your vision/eye' well I don't want that undergrad in the same room as me. Because they are a hazard to themselves and everyone else in the room. Heck sometimes the whole building/town depending on what you're working around.

    I know this is a different argument to the one you're covering here. But regardless of language it's an odd line to be toeing, wanting on the one hand to include everyone and knowing on the other that some people are not capable of safely performing certain tasks. I'm very confused about how to square it and with regards to disability it bothers me.

    1. Hi CorvusMeeki!

      Thanks for the kind words and unfamiliar (to me) situation for me to chew over. I initially had the same reaction as you- those people should just gtfo, right? But then I thought more about it, and I'm wondering if it's more complex than that. So I'll first ask you to consider that possibility. Do you think it's truly lower levels of intelligence and cognitive capability preventing these people from wearing gloves, etc.? For example, could they just be absent-minded? Forgetful? Inattentive? Or perhaps so concerned about doing the labs or whatever they've been assigned that they jump right into the experiment part and don't prep well enough? Or maybe they're arrogant and think they'll be fine, then "play dumb" when they get caught? Or they may have some other invisible disability giving them trouble aside from low cognition/IQ/etc., too, like anxiety or ADD/ADHD, OCD, etc., and just have been afraid to get accommodations and inform you or whoever is in charge about it because of social stigmas and whatnot.

      I guess what I'm getting at is, it may not be "stupidity," but other personality traits or even possible disabilities leading to them not following safety instructions. While I agree whole-heartedly, I wouldn't want to be in the lab with people who were being willfully ignorant or arrogant or deliberately not following safety instructions. But I'd also try to talk to anyone demonstrating lack of safety measures, and for the people that seem to genuinely have a hard time, ask why that is and what they may need to change it. So, I guess, I'm saying, I'd encourage you to use it as an opportunity to help the students, to learn about them and how to help *them* learn, too. You never know, what appears to be flakiness or lack of caring right now could very well be debilitating anxiety or ADHD. (I'm speaking from personal experience- I teach a college class, and I've had more than one student come to me with accommodation paperwork after skipping class a lot and/or doing poorly on an exam, and let me tell you, my opinion did a 180 every time.)

      And yes, if there are some people that would not be able to do the lab because of a genuine disability, that's something for the student to work out with whoever is in charge of the course, whatever disability resources your campus has, and their academic adviser(s) and mentor(s). But if it's that their an ass about it, yeah, give them the grade they deserve at the end and hope they don't pick chemistry as their major or professional field.

  4. I disagree. My blog post in response to this one.

    1. Judging from the nature of your reply, you either didn't read my original post, or are willfully extrapolating things I never said, and, in fact, went out of my way to say something contrary to. So I don't have anything to say to you, except follow your own advice and instead of insinuating people that disagree with you are calling for censorship in a veiled attempt at censoring them, internalize the fact that your First Amendment rights in no way trump those of anyone else, and that part of upholding the First Amendment is being open to criticism. I'm open to criticism, sure, but when it's actually about what I'm writing, and not some tired old throwback to a high school literature book about government-sanctioned censorship, a throwback I see more often from people with privilege than those without.

  5. I know I'm so ridiculously behind, but I hadn't seen this before. Thanks for sharing.

    I've used it, without being aware of the disability connection. Being fundamentally uncool and out of touch with contemporary...anything...(Although I don't feel like I'm missing out on much not watching South Park). I've only ever seen it in rage comics, where I interpreted it completely differently - I saw it as more of "absentmindedly doing nothing worthwhile" and saw the eyes as just staring off into space. So I've only ever used it on myself when I'm doing the same thing, like staring into space, not paying attention, and then tripping over my own feet haha.

    How disgusting the way it's actually usually used. I guess it makes me a little clueless that it didn't even occur to me! I was feeling all optimistic, like "well, at least the image has evolved to be less offensive rather than more, moving towards less blatant ableism!" and then I got to the use of actual disabled people in the memes and was like DAMMIT.


    Also - "Isn't it empowering that she exists at all?" Huh? Since when is a negative portrayal of a marginalized group empowering? I've heard some baffling defenses, but that one takes the cake.

    1. Hi! Sorry for the late reply.

      In response to your last paragraph, that's actually an argument that gets pulled by people in a majority status when harmful portrayals of minorities are called out. Whether it be a really racist character, a token female that's nothing more than an object, or, yeah, a poorly-portrayed disabled person, it happens all the time. Kinda sad, but it's all the more reason to speak out against that crap in the first place. If all the majority knows are the negative stereotypes, they aren't going to think the minority is worth any more than that.

      Thanks for the kind words, too! It's people like you, that are open-minded, that are the key players in the fight against oppression. You're like the central voters in a political campaign, heh.

  6. Thanks for your essay. I don't watch TV, and knew nothing of derps before reading your story, but I see how that word has become a pejorative term. I guess words like this are always appearing. It's like when I was a kid, people called us mental and retard, and now we are speeds and other names.

    I've probably seen memes like you cite before - the online world is full of offensive material - and just ignored them. But you are right that the morally correct thing to do is to challenge them. And the more people do that. the better off we are. I think younger people are quicker to show outrage at stuff like this (and that helps us all) where people my age are perhaps more likely to ignore offensive material that is not directly aimed at us, and get on with our lives.

    I appreciate that you are speaking up against this sort of stuff.

    1. Hi! Sorry for your late reply, as well.

      Thank YOU for your kind words, too. I'd like to hope that you're right about younger generations being susceptible to more socially forward-thinking ideas. The rub is getting the point across without people getting defensive. I think a lot of the time, people dig their heels in because they feel like because they didn't think something was ableist, sexist, racist, etc., the insinuation is that they're thus a terrible person and guilty of always being whatever "ist" is at play. But that's SO NOT TRUE. A lot of this stuff is everyday. Just as how "derp" has sort of become part of the lexicon for 20-somethings and under, oppression just sort of "is" a lot of the time. It's not about blame, but responsibility. When we can get enough people to understand that- older and younger generation alike- we can foster real, tangible social change.

      Again, thanks. :)

  7. Regardless what that 'meme' site says, using 'derp' and 'derpy' to refer to people with Down's Syndrome has been around since at least the early '80s, when i was in grade school, sadly.

    1. Wow, I didn't know that! That's even worse...

  8. I'd never thought of it in that way. Not a word I use much if at all, but certainly something to ponder.

  9. I honestly never knew about it being around since the 80s, and now feel bad for using it. I've mainly used it in reference to myself doing something dumb or making a really silly, bumbling mistake. Will back away from it now.

  10. Thank you for the article! My following questions are genuine and not intending to be defensive - I would like to be educated further about the word. I'd like to discontinue using ableist language but I do have some questions about "derp" specifically.
    I personally have always used the word "derp" to describe my social awkwardness. I am having trouble believing that the word in and of itself is meant to be ableist. The images you shared were horrifying and disgusting but what if someone who posted those same images captioned it with something like "goofy" - would the word goofy then be considered offensive? When people abuse the word derp, it is wrong, but I am wondering your thoughts about people using the word to genuinely mean something like, "oh gosh I just did something silly and awkward."
    I very much appreciate you educating me with this article - this comment is not meant to defend ableist slurs, but I would like your thoughts on this/to play devil's advocate because whereas "retarded" comes directly from mental retardation (and is a word I never say) "derp" seems to be just some word that people created to mean "silly and awkward" that of course some shitheads decided to abuse and create rude memes out of, but on it's own comes from nothing real/ableist.
    Again, I want to make it clear, I am asking this because I would like to be educated on the matter, not to defend use of the word if it truly is offensive/ableist. I am just struggling to see how it is and would like to know more of your thoughts!

    1. Hi Nikki,

      The trouble is that "derp" started originally not just on its own, but attached to disability. Original images had "lazy eyes" and were actually pretty similar to some of the newer ones today. And its popular use in places like 'My Little Pony' solidified that association with disability and made it more widespread. Going back to Derpy Hooves, her "silly" and "awkward" characteristics were painted as a result of her disabilities in her appearances on the show, so when the Bronies decided to call her "Derpy," they were highlighting those anomalies. Thus, her name basically translates to "Retarded Pony," and not in the diagnostic sense, but the "I'm laughing at you and your anomalies" sense of the word "retarded."The pejorative sense. But even if the very, very, very first use of "derpy" wasn't about disability, it has *evolved* into something basically directly associated with disability frequently, and that gets used as an insult all the time, as well as a substitute for perfectly reasonable alternatives. This is why the new DSM no longer contains "retarded" as a diagnosis- colloquial uses of the word "retarded" became predominantly pejorative in the past two decades and, as I said above, enough activists pointed this out to the right people. People don't even understand the original meaning of it, but toss it out willy-nilly to insult each other (or yes, themselves) or to rag on stuff entirely unrelated to diagnostics in the first place (like saying a movie is "retarded" or a song).

      My question for you is this. If you concede that "derp" gets used as an insult at least sometimes, and you're using it to substitute for "silly" or "awkward," why not just say "silly" or "awkward" in the first place? See, this is the real trouble with words that "take the place" of something else and, in other contexts, are used to deliberately insult. Again, "retarded" is a good example- see the part I wrote about how "stupid" gets used all the time. So does "retarded." It's the same problem you're asking about, here. If the word you're thinking of using is insulting in another context, don't use it. In any case. Because that substitution is still linked to the insult. But people get so used to using things like "retarded" and "stupid" to describe things that, actually, are not even *capable* of having an I.Q., that they disassociate the insult and assume it's not there anymore. But that's Oppression 101, frankly- it's passive, and structural, and among the hardest to call out (and have accepted for what it is) and change. Just because there isn't someone with a disability at the crux of the use, doesn't mean it's not generally oppressive, and that's the hardest part for people to grasp. It's basically an ableist joke, and sure, you're kind of making yourself a punchline, but it's also at the expense of disabled people because of the word-choice. Intent isn't the real issue, it's the end result. And there don't have to be disabled people even present for that to be bad.

    2. Well, to answer your question, 'If you know it's used as an insult sometimes, why use it instead of silly or awkward in the first place, well, it's kinda simple. It sounds right!
      Different words feel different for different people based on experiences that they've had with the words. For some people, if they make a goofy mistake, it wouldn't feel right to describe it as anything but silly, or derpy, or whatever other version of goofy they wish. Does that make sense..? I feel like I didn't quite get my point across.. hm..
      If someone says something describing theirself, then they're describing themselves. If someone says 'Well, I just had a derp moment', they're not insulting disabled people, unless they're like, specifically doing it within view of many others and stating it in such a way as to be obvioisly demeaning. I guess I'm just trying to say that words are not expressed by defenition, but by expression (If that's not an awkward sentence, I'm an aardvark.). Words are what we make them to be! English, especially American English, is 3% definition, 90% context and expression, and 2% pie. Because pie is fantastic.

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  11. Thank you for your thorough response! Very informative and helpful for my goal to speak with unoffensive language

  12. Fantastic post - doubly so because of the well curated comments.

    One point of curiosity... what do we do with 'derp' in your ideal future? Have we lost this word forever? Can the current definition culturally "expire?" I can imagine an argument where widespread post-expiration derp usage would just be an -even sneakier- perpetuation of the system of oppression.

    I think heeb provides an interesting example from a different -ism. It doubles as a slur against Jews and the phonetic pronunciation of a large chain of grocery stores (H.E.B.) where I grew up.

    I was actually shocked to find out (when traveling to other parts of the country) that "I'm going to the heeb to get some apples" could offend someone. I polled some friends that I grew up with - none were aware of the slur, and all reacted with an appropriate amount of responsibility. Given the reactions, I can't see how we were somehow perpetuating a bad system.

    I can imagine derp being like this some day, but I'm curious whether my "hometown heeb" scenario represents goodness or badness.

    Heeb is also the name of a Jewish youth magazine. Are they helping or hurting by attempting to take it back?

  13. I just typed up a huge long post and your blog ate it... So I have to retype it...

    Derpy Hooves was not 'ret-conned' with a new voice. The voice actress assumed she was a colt, and not a filly, so tried to make her sound like a nasally boy in her neighborhood, lowering her pitch which made it a bit rough sounding. When finding she was actually a filly she asked to rerecord the lines for the re-release.
    She is not disabled (aside from the eyes) she is just a clumsy, klutzy, but smart (a mailmare to go by the fans), and the mother of another background pony who shares her colors, Dinky Hooves.
    The eyes happened as a graphic glitch and one Brony spotted it. She's since become a 'Where's Waldo' kind of character, trying to spot her in different episodes. Hasbro realizes how many adult fans there are, so they throw us a bone every once in a while, putting in a character that was designed just for the background and giving her a speaking voice.
    She isn't called Derpy to the young fans, aside from the single time Rainbow Dash says her name. Usually with toys her name is either blank, her cutiemark, or a muffin. Only for the collectible items is she called 'Derpy Hooves' and even then it's rare to see it printed out. It's usually to licensed items and not Hasbro branded ones.
    Oh and this is a better example of the fans trying to keep her

    1. (Also, Derpy has pretty much the same tone of voice as Rudolph from the classic claymation)
      (She also has the clumsiness due to the wall-eyed-ness)

    2. Yup, the first voice was a mistake on the actress's part, but honestly? When I first heard it, I almost expected Sally to come up and start scolding Derpy for holding onto a blanket for too long - I heard Derpy's voice as a near-perfect replica of Linus from Peanuts! :)

  14. I love mlp and I love derpy ( ditzy doo)

    even though im only 13 I completely understand were your coming from and how she can be offensive.
    but derpy wasnt just called that for her eyes its the face she made as well.

    You might say I have no heart for loving this disabled pony but heres why

    Take it from someone who has derpy eyes like her.
    my eyes arent always crossed but thy do cross on their own alot.

    Iv'e been called so many names and it hurts so thats why I love ditzy's character so much.
    I have a little 6 inch figure of derpy that came in a 3 pack i got for Christmas and I was so happy. ( I almost cried shes my absolute favorite and my dad knows why I care about her so much)

    I am now in CA visiting my family and I brought Derpy along for the ride.

    She has gotten so much love since we got here my cousins made her a little room on a box next to my make shift bed, and we take her to the beach, we give her baths.

    My cousins are convinced shes alive, so we want her to feel special because she is special, People and yes even ponies like derpy should be happy they don't have to be ashamed because of disabilities.

    I hate some of the drawings people make of her and the memes people make mocking the mentally ill. I had to read them a few times but then I got it NOT funny especially the last one.

    RD called her derpy once but they edited it out so no one saw it
    and in "Winter wrap up" they said "Ditzy Doo" but they never showed her except in the background with different colored manes.

    1. I personally don't have eye problems (20/15 vision here), but I gotta admit - I just can't see nothin' if it's right in front of my nose~ ^-^ Derpy's always been my favorite, even before I became a brony and started watching all the episodes. I got a few mental screws loose, and I keep getting 404: brain not found, but hey, it is awesome! Normal people are boring! Why be normal if you can be nuts? :) Hang in there, and be as wierd as you possibly can be!
      Wierdtastically yours,

  15. I gained a lot of insight to abelism and obviously there are so many parallels I'm linking up in my mind to other oppressed groups. Thanks for writing it all. Also I've been clicking the links to the and I've found a new site to lurk on lol

  16. I'm more or less a brony. I've only started the show (Almost done with Season 2) but I've seen and heard about a good amount of Derpy's episodes. And, yeah, I called her Derpy. Not 'cuz I'm tryin' to be rude to ya, it's just the name that fits her best. Anyway, if you will, please hear me out, mkay?
    Derpy, to me, is an awkward, slightly addled, clumsy little pony. That basically describes myself. Except, I'm not a pony. Unfortunately. That would be awesome. But she is an adorable character, honestly one of my favorites, partly because I can relate to her, partly because she's just silly. And that's the essence of the 'derp' - it's not about any disability, it's not making fun of those that have them. Not really. We all have 'derp' moments- little moments in life when we accidentally do something dumb or goofy. Is it making fun of the disabled when we say, "whoops, that's not quite what was supposed to happen. derp!" Nah. It's just an acknowledgement that we goofed up a bit.
    Now, me, I got a fun mix of Autism, ADHD, and Aspergers. I have these 'derp' moments all the time, but I never equate it with my Triple-A service (my fun little nickname for it). I'm just kind of a derpy guy! :) The 'derp' is sometimes used rudely, sure, but last time I checked... that kind of applies to just about anything you can think of. We live in a society that contains a lot of rude people., and they use whatever terms they want to hurt others. We call these 'bullies', and we don't support them at all.
    What I'm trying to say is that Derpy, and all us derpy people out here, we're silly. And we know it. And we're cool with it, too. The thing is, it's when other people go out and rage against every being under the sun that says a certain term, no matter the context, it kinda takes all the fun out of it. Believe me, I know. And, also, it bugs me a bit that people assume that it's all unpleasant and rude. It's not. Not really. It's a kids' show, and Derpy, rather than being a blatant, walking slap in the face to disabled people, is a silly little pony that shows kids that it's okay and completely normal if we're a little goofy. If the silly filly is banned, tarred and feathered, well... that looks more like a lesson that being like that is something not to be talked about or nothin'. Derpy is a character that many fans adore because she's cute and silly. We don't think of her as disabled, nor do we put her down for her oddball ways, because she lives in the part of our heart where all the happy, goofy things go. Now, if they put Derpy in a weelchair and have her like drool all over or whatever, then, yeah, that'd be taking it too far. But that's not Derpy. Accidentally wrecking town hall because sh

    1. Ack, derp. Wrong button. (And no, that wasn't to make a point, I'm typing this on a Kindle Fire and I've got big thumbs XP)
      Continuing on where I left off.
      Accidentally wrecking Town Hall because she was happily distracted by a bouncy cloud that happened to be a thundercloud? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and then misplaced it). Imagine if a trampoline let out weak lightning every time you bounced. You'd accidentally make a mistake and zap someone/somethin, yeah? I know I would. In fact, I'd likely set my pants on fire by accident xp
      So, yeah. All in all, Derpy remains the pony closest to my heart. It's fine if you don't like her, everyone's got their own likes n' dislikes. But Istand proudly and announce this: I am proud to be a derpface! And I am ... slightly hungry. I need a snack. Watch out for falling-

  17. In order to be Derp, you have to embrace your disability.

  18. I loathe the word Derp. Instead of using it as a recourse of response y not b more articulate and actually add something important to a conversation? People that incessantly use the word 'derp' devalue the importance of learning and ultimately do not contribute in any positive way to conversation.

    1. Personally? Because I have cognition issues which can make word recall very difficult. I used derp to refer to moments when I was "derping out." When I struggled with memory, recall, or other cognition issues I'd use it because I thought it was so much better than using the really offensive words like dumb, retarded, or idiot. It makes me really sad to see that a term that began innocently has been consumed by bigotry.

  19. NOBODY ever said its meant to be funny.. also it was an animation error in the first place.. and most disabled children loved her becouse they cpuld relate. Get your facts straight

  20. NOBODY ever said its meant to be funny.. also it was an animation error in the first place.. and most disabled children loved her becouse they cpuld relate. Get your facts straight

  21. As someone with a.d.d. and disgraphia let me say this. Shut the fuck up. We need positive role models in media. Characters who are not the freak or loner. And about Derp meaning retard? If it does mean retard you and a very small group are responsible for Derp meaning retard. Idiot

  22. Actually, I would like them to double down on Derpy Hooves being mentally disabled

  23. Replies
    1. Excuse me madam, you CAN'T fight fire with fire. Also, telling someone to commit suicide is actually ILLEGAL.

  24. Even though I am not disabled myself (although I obviously do respect those with mental intelligence disorder), I have to agree even if I use the word "derp" myself. I kind of regret saying it anyways as a joke on "lazy eyes" and all that other shit like Derpy's name, so yeah. Though, like Clouds Paint said, it was an animation error at first and some disabled kids like Derpy because they find her relatable too, such as commenter Cutewolfandbunny1 AJ. Though, I never use the word "retard" ever.

    Also, at anyone who complains at this saying things like "THE WRITER IS A RETARDED SJW GETTING BUTTHURT OVER THE EQUIVALENT OF STUPID!!", kindly be quiet and not comment at this if you don't like what they think. There's a reason why this sentence "If you can't say anything nice, don't say it at all" exists.

    Feel free to call me an insensitive dumbass if you want as long as you don't tell me to kill myself, because threatening people with that makes you look like an asshole, and like I said, ILLEGAL. End of sentence.

    1. Also, like what people said, she wasn't ret-conned with a new voice, her actress thought she was a boy at first until they were re-recorded.

  25. Regardless of whether or not a bunch of forty-something-year-old bronies find the term "derp" funny, I find it inappropriate that they would have a character called that in a show targeted towards little children. I mean, growing up, I saw people with Down's Syndrome as funny or even scary because of the way they were portrayed in the media (if even featured at all), and it wasn't until I actually got to know my best friend's brother with Down's that I realized how blatantly cruel the whole thing was. What's more important, their self-esteem, or our five minutes of laughter before we move onto the next thing? I mean, they might as well have named the pony "tardy" or "mongoloid" or some other derogatory phrase, because regardless of the social media meme consensus, the phrase "derp" was originally a slang term for a disabled person. Not to act like a special snowflake, but it's very offensive. Suppose a child with Down's or autism or Tourette's is shown an episode of My Little Pony, and they see this disabled character portrayed as cross-eyed and ugly and bizarre. What will it do to the way they value themselves as human beings? But of course, this is the age where it's commonplace apparently laugh at and mock 9/11 victims who jumped to their deaths out of the World Trade Center with the ever-popular "that's just plane wrong" meme and the song "It's Raining Men" by the Weathergirls, so this derp thing really doesn't surprise me, unfortunately.

  26. I'm curious though, because Derp was originally used in 1988 and even here it was not originally intended as an insult against the disabled. It's obviously come to be used that way, which is sickening. Originally it was meant to express confusion, surprise, and shame at having done something really embarrassing or silly. That's how I used it, referring to myself as having "derped out" or being "derpy" or "I'm a derp." I deal with some memory and cognition issues from chronic illness and am disabled. So I very much wanted to avoid ableist terms which everyone has been aware of for decades (idiot, dumb, etc.). So now I feel like a complete jerk for referring to myself as with derp, but also, I used it and meant it as originally intended.


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