SMA News Forums Forums Awareness and Advocacy Disability in Media Disappointing Disability Representation

  • alyssa-silva

    June 23, 2021 at 11:53 am

    I haven’t read the Star Wars books, but based on your column, I’d be disappointed as well. One example of this that comes to mind is the movie Me Before You. I think it came out around 5 years ago. The general plot was that a disabled man and his caregiver fall in love. But throughout the entire movie, disability is portrayed as though life isn’t worth living. The man is sad, feels worthless, and so on. It was frustrating to watch, especially since that’s how I feel society perceives disability at times, too. The movie only added fuel to the fire.

  • mike-huddleston

    June 24, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    Interesting topic.  So, like Alyssa, I have not read any of those stories.  I did watch Me Before You and agree with the summary, but I admittedly don’t remember most of the details.  But the disabled character was wealthy and suddenly paralyzed, so a lot of his frustration and dismay seemed to stem from that.  But still, there is a constant theme when those in the disabled community are portrayed in a negative light.

    I took a class at work yesterday on D&I, and one of the exercises was discussing what our perceptions are on different groups of people.  One of the groups was disabled people.  Through media, such as the news, and representation in books, TV shows, and movies, there is a general negative impression of people with disabilities, as well as people in other groups.  Overcoming those perceptions is an opportunity we have on a daily basis.  No, it’s not as far reaching as movies, TV shows, and some books, but the journey of a 1000 miles begins with the first step – or roll 🙂

    Developing allies in other marginalized groups is one way to do that.  I have been very fortunate to recently have been selected as a company wide co-chair for our new ERG on associates with disabilities group.  We are a national company with over 40,000 associates.  I view this as an opportunity to raise social consciousness and awareness, and to educate.   We are not sponges on society, our lives matter, and we add value every day.  Don’t ever let inaccurate representations make you feel otherwise.   Imagine how it is being in another marginalized or disparaged group.  Increase your empathy and understanding for those groups – and seek their understanding of ours.

    Two movies that I thought were good in their portrayal of disabilities were The Upside and My Left Foot.  I’m sure there are many others.

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