The media s representation of disabilities

Telethons are an example of this, such as the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon which has been heavily criticised and sometimes even physically protested by disability rights advocates.

Her three-dimensionality makes her a more accurate representation of a person with a disability: She is much more than her deafness.

disability tropes in media

Even the terminology used by media outlets like newspapers contributes to this idea. In addition to the lack of racial and gender diversity, many disabled characters are fueled by stereotypes of "overcoming" their disability or being inspirational to others.

It is interesting to look at the fact that a lot of the language used still revolves around the medical model of disability.

In this way, TV and film characters have the potential to change the dominant discourse and attitudes within society. Depictions of disability in media soon reverted to emphasizing the "freakish" nature of disability. Take Darth Vader — he has a prosthetic arm and an oxygen mask, and is one of the most well-known villains of all time.

If we can accomplish better quality and quantity of disability representation in the media, we start exposing the world to more realistic experiences of individuals with disabilities. Stereotypes may endure in a culture for several reasons: they are constantly reinforced in the culture, which mass media does easily and effectively; they reflect a common human need to organize people and categorize them; they reinforce discrimination that allows one group of society to exploit and marginalize another group.

Where the media holds a high level of influence over the perceptions of the general public, an under-representation or mis-representation of disabled people has large social implications. Increasing the percentage of disabled people in employment within the media industry would be a large step towards removing stereotypes and empowering disabled people in the general community.

Katie is learning to walk again, following a year of straightening treatment. Changing certain phrases and terminology can help when speaking about those of us with disabilities.

disability representation in media statistics

Like with all minorities, the media has promoted and reinforced both positive and negative stereotypes about people with disabilities.

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Disability in the media