Accessibility | Follow Us
Youtube Icon

Where am I in the Media, Fashion and TV Industries?

 

Where am I? 

The depiction of disability in the media plays a major part in shaping public perception. People are directly influenced by the portrayal of these perceptions. The media has immense power to reinforce negative images and stereotypes or to radiate positive and empowering beliefs. Yet where am I?

People like me

Despite major advances in equality and diversity, people with a range of disabilities are still rarely seen in everyday media advertising, marketing campaigns or in films and shows. We don’t exist.

Marketing campaigns for everything, from clothing to household goods, lack the portrayal of anyone with an impairment. Instead, they are given the focus of over or under achievement which means disabled people can never be who they are, constantly striving to overcome their disability and be accepted.

We don’t wear any clothes! 

We never see models with a disability in clothing catalogues or as shop mannequins and one of the most frustrating issues is when an actor for a soap, TV advert or film, without a disability is asked to pretend the role. This is akin to actors in the past ‘blacking up’. So often, it’s about ridicule, exclusion, pity and medical intervention, and yet no-one says a word!

Photo of our Director Daniel and his guide dog Zodiac

Shining a positive light

This under-representation of disabled people in the media, or their misleading portrayal, is a disaster! It reinforces the stereotype image and seriously limits integration into the community. And yet it persists.

Instead of using portrayal of disability to add atmosphere and dramatic effect to visual and written scripts and depicting them as tragic victims, it would be nice to see a positive spirit of enlightenment.

This might include professionals learning not to assume that the audience is non-disabled.

I don’t count…LOL

People who have an impairment are also not one-dimensional characters, living with a funny abnormality and blending into the background. When disabled actors are used, they tend not to speak much or have no story line, acting more in a supportive role, while others take centre stage, facing the crises and problems of everyday life that disabled people don’t appear to have, cocooned in their safe world of being cared for 24 hours a day.

Tragic lives

If film producers and the media in general could be encouraged to see reality, instead of being exploited by scriptwriters for dramatic effect or emotional appeal, then so would the general viewing public.

And this absence of disabled characters in everyday roles reflects their same absence in the social structure: as family members, employees and employers, mums and dads; it just perpetuates the distance that exists between disabled and non-disabled people. Disabled people are…people!

Unemployed, unemployable no-hoper

Another niggle is that few disabled people are seen in employment. It is more about claiming and complaining, about benefits and scraping a living. It leads to more segregation and isolation and being seen as an object of curiosity. And yet, these attitudes and beliefs are largely left unchallenged!

Sometimes, it feels like you need to show ‘super-qualities’ to be noticed and gain respect. Instead of being recognised for your character and personality, you become categorised for an easily identifiable impairment, often sensationalised.

Marketing and media professionals need to change their attitudes and allow disabled people, and disability, to be a part of the scene.

If the media can abandon the stereotypes, genuine disabled characters offer new angles and story lines, with the opportunity to create exciting new and complex characters. They also can contribute to influencing social policy and society attitudes to disabled people.

Louise Dyson’s VisABLE People agency is the world’s first to supply disabled actors, presenters and models to the advertising industry, television and film companies, radio and theatre. Please click here to visit her site.

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

RSS News RSS

  • Dealing with Sight Loss: Being Blind in Business 10/02/2020
    A disability doesn’t define someone, nor does it equal inability. Whilst it’s important to understand the unique circumstances people may have, often I’ve found it can become all-encompassing to that individual. The post Dealing with Sight Loss: Being Blind in Business appeared first on Visualise Training and Consultancy.
    Daniel
  • Supporting Employees with Visual Impairments 22/01/2020
    This article focuses on employees with visual impairments and how organisations can support them to maximise their potential. The post Supporting Employees with Visual Impairments appeared first on Visualise Training and Consultancy.
    Daniel
  • Are UK Trains Accessible to Passengers with disabilities? 05/12/2019
    If you are a person living with a disability, it’s frustrating that you cannot just turn up at the station, get on a train and travel wherever you want to go to the same as everyone else, due to the fact that you need to book assistance at least 24 hours in advance. How many […]
    Daniel
  • Croydon Vision Talking Newspaper Interview 21/10/2019
    Following Dan's talk at the Croydon Vision AGM about the challenges of growing up with sight loss and how they spurred him on to make a difference to other people living with visual impairments, here's a follow up chat with Danielle, one of the charity's volunteers who helps to produce their talking newspaper The post […]
    Phil Roberts
  • Life Beyond the OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) Scan 16/08/2019
    You happily go along to the optometrist, feeling good about life. Then comes the bolt out of the blue when the OCT scan reveals a problem. You need to be referred to an ophthalmologist. The post Life Beyond the OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) Scan appeared first on Visualise Training and Consultancy.
    Daniel
  • I’d never have guessed… you really don’t look blind! 16/08/2019
    Lots of people, including those who have been blind since childhood, haven’t the foggiest what being blind is supposed to look like so comments like ‘You don’t look blind’ can be somewhat baffling. The post I’d never have guessed… you really don’t look blind! appeared first on Visualise Training and Consultancy.
    Daniel
  • Fancy a REAL Blind Date? 15/08/2019
    If you’re going to accept an invitation for a date from someone who has appalling sight like me, don’t be fooled. It’s no good thinking you may as well turn up wearing your old gardening clobber and save yourself a bit of time; if your date is blind, what the heck will it matter what […]
    Phil Roberts
  • Supporting Older People with Sight Loss in Residential Care 14/08/2019
    Only 5% of people who are registered blind see nothing at all so learn to recognise the signs of sight loss as it is more common than you may think and can be easily missed. The post Supporting Older People with Sight Loss in Residential Care appeared first on Visualise Training and Consultancy.
    Daniel
  • Look on the Bright Side of Being Registered Blind! 07/08/2019
    To be registered severely sight impaired (blind) you don’t need to have complete sight loss, you just need to meet certain criteria. The post Look on the Bright Side of Being Registered Blind! appeared first on Visualise Training and Consultancy.
    Daniel
  • Coming Out Blind 26/07/2019
    Come out blind. Begin to live again: with freedom, independence and laughing at real humour, not just at yourself The post Coming Out Blind appeared first on Visualise Training and Consultancy.
    Daniel