Why we need more disabled people in the media

disabled-people-in-the-media

Disabled people make up 20% of the population. But we rarely see them in the media, and that needs to change!

When we go to the movies, or watch a tv show, we get to know the actors, we get to know the characters. We either love them, or hate them, but we always get to know them. I remember watching the serie Switched at birth. At one point one of the characters gets involved with a guy in a wheelchair. But he’s portrayed as a sexy man! Our main character falls in love with him for his looks and his personality, and so do probably a lot of teen girls watching this show. Because for a moment, he’s not a weird guy with a disability, no, he’s the hot guy that the main character is dating.

I loved Switched at birth for doing this. Because most of the time disabled people in movies and tv shows are sad and we should pity them. Or they play some sort of freakshow (like the little man in a circus or something). That is, when there even ARE disabled people in the movies. Did you know that only 2% of the characters in movies and tv shows are disabled? And did you know that 95% of these disabled characters are played by abled actors? It’s insane…

Include disabled people in your diversity campaign

So please, when you talk about more diversity in movies and TV shows, include us as well. Include disabled people and together we can change the perception of us. I want to see a movie where a disabled girl is the main character, and where the popular guy ends up with her. I want to watch a TV show with a disabled doctor, a blind singer, and so much more! Let’s show the world that a disability is nothing to be ashamed of, and that we’re just as much a part of society as anyone else, and that our stories are just as much worth telling as any other!

Photo: Jens Kreuter / Unsplash

Marit

Marit is the person who started Pretty Different. She was born with only one hand and has struggled with the crazy ideal of perfection. Since accepting that she's different, she started seeing the beauty in 'imperfection'.

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