Style & The White Cane Can Coexist

Style & The White Cane Can Co-Exist

Real Beauty Transcends Barriers

Bold Blind Beauty

Style & The White Cane Can Coexist

Beauty, Blindness & The White Cane

Stephanae & white cane Image Description is in the body of the post.
Stephanae & White Cane

“But you don’t look blind” Many of us blind/VI ladies hear this quite often, especially if we are stylish and walk confidently with our white canes or guide dogs. But here’s the thing, if someone told you they had cancer to say “you don’t look like you have cancer” would be considered rude. The same holds true for blindness and many other disabilities. Fact is there are many fashionable and attractive women who happen to be blind. The thing that sets us apart is we refuse to let our lack of eyesight prevent us from living life on our terms.

I think it’s important for all of us to remember things aren’t always as they might appear.

“Everybody, including people with disabilities, makes assumptions. Problems arise when we are not open to learning our assumption was wrong.” 

Libby Thaw, The Checkered Eye Project

Featured Image Description: 

I am posed standing in this photo (a collage of three images) with my white cane. My outfit is a black tee, black leggings, black crisscross heels, gray long hooded vest.

Additional Image:

Another tri-collage where I’m standing with my white cane against my counter in the living room. This time I’m wearing all white (jeans, cami, open shirt) with beige block-heeled lace-up sandals. A silver cuff bracelet, statement necklace, and earrings complete the look.


  1. It’s horrifying. An airport employee once told me that I didn’t need to learn Spanish for ‘those’ people. I swiftly told him that despite my Aryan appearance I am a proud Hispanic Woman whose grandma was called Juanita. I suspect that half the country is more racist than we thought.

  2. YES, I just read about that before checking these comments here. I just don’t get it. And the woman who originally said it said she didn’t mean it the way it sounded because she isn’t racist. What kills me are people posting this nonsense on social media.

  3. I empathize – people actually say to me, “You don’t look like you are mentally ill”… BTW, I have made you my stylist in my latest blog, Lady Stephanie.

  4. Unrelated comment – my friend Ann says my picture is not attached here to my posts. My name seems to be connected to my website, CarlaAnne Communications, which does have a photo of me on it but that apparently doesn’t appear on this site. Does anyone know how to make that happen?

  5. Wow. That is extremely well said Steph. You have an amazing perspective on vision loss. I just ask that people don’t use the circumstances of my vision challenges as justification for exclusion from work, life and the pursuit of happiness, and that my sighted friends don’t abandon me. I have more to offer people than what people feel is a disability. I ask sighted people to remember that there’s more than meets their eye if they take some time to look beyond my non-functioning eyes. I just ask for the dignity and respect one would give to anyone else – sighted or not.

  6. I think the fear of going blind is so mind boggling to people they can’t help but try to understand the experience. It’s sort of like we only know what we know and if we can fully see there’s no way we could totally understand how people who are blind go about daily living. I really believe people aren’t being intentionally mean although it can be troubling when we project how we feel by what we think onto others. I also think part of the “looking blind” thing may have to do with, as you suggested here, focusing even when we cannot see what we are “focusing” on. Until I began going through the process of losing my eyesight I didn’t understand the complexities of the act of seeing or not seeing. I do find it all so interesting but wouldn’t go so far as to ask intrusive questions but we grew up in a different era.

  7. When I first lost my vision, it was much harder for everyone else to adjust to it than it was for me. People assume I’m less capable than I am. Strangers have even asked me what’s “wrong” with me. I just say let’s talk about what’s right with me. It’s amazing that after determining that I can’t see, people who don’t even know me will often start a conversation without introducing themselves. They tend to get hung up on all the wrong, personal and inappropriate questions such as, “Have you been blind since birth? What caused your vision loss? Are you completely blind? Will you ever see again? How do you use that ‘big stick’? How do you get around? Can’t glasses fix it? Isn’t there an injection for that?” And my all-time favorite, “Gee, you don’t look blind.” Really? This is insulting and frustrating. I usually respond, “Well, you don’t look sighted.” The real answer to “not looking blind” as best as I can articulate it – is that there are multiple reasons why and how I quote look at things having once been sighted and rather recently. For example, during a recent photo shoot of me (as part of a traveling photo exhibit about marginalized people that I agreed to participate in as one of the subjects), the photographer asked me to look at the camera which I did, but he couldn’t figure out how I could do that. But it’s quite simple. When a person talks, I essentially know where their mouth is and I follow them by the sound of their voice and know where to look, even though I can’t see them. I also still quote look in my mirror by my front door to check my attire before I go out. I imagine this is all due to habit and instinct more than anything else, really just giving me a sense of confidence before I go out, and helping me to be certain that I at least have most of my clothes on.

  8. Looks can be deceiving and too often people will launch mouth before engaging brain. On a lighter note, I once had a drill sergeant say to me, “y’know, you don’t really look stupid but there you go.”

  9. I agree body language is considerably different in a person who had sight versus a person who is congenitally blind. The thing that bothers me most aside from the negative connotations on blindness, is there appears to be an expectation we are to look/behave a certain way. If we don’t we are accused of faking which, in my opinion, is silly. Who would want to use an assisting device if they didn’t have to? While there is a small segment of the population who have no conscience and they get their jollies by perpetrating a fraud, they are in the minority. For me the bigger issues are the snap judgements and lack of respect for people with disabilites. I wish we could get to a place where we become accepting of our differences. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting, I really appreciate you adding your voice to the conversation. Have a great week!😀

  10. I think sometimes the whether we “look blind” depends on the body language too. If you grew up with some usable sight, most likely you’ll hear the “don’t look blind” quite a bit. The body language can be so different, in subtle ways. And especially if you go blind slowly, it can be easy to hide, while you can easily pass for a person of normal sight (often too long for one’s own safety). Sigh…
    so pick up some blindisms, if it makes it easier.
    I wear my dark shades (or colored shades, depending on light and what I feel like) always when out of my home. Wearing them at night and indoors and with situations where eye contact is expected gets all sorts of stevie wonder comments.
    I also wonder what the blind are supposed to look like, for those that like to use the above as a compliment. We shouldn’t care what we wear? Humans are generally so visual, it’s a bit frustrating to focus on others’ perceptions but got to play the game while trapped in a sighted world…
    Have an awesome week

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