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Disability in Media: Reel-Time Misperceptions

It was a year ago that I applied for the role of background actor on a major network television show. The casting call specifically stated that he was looking for someone using mobility aids such as wheelchairs, canes and walkers. I applied and got a job as a lifelong user of a wheelchair. I appeared on the day of shooting, shot one scene that lasted about an hour, and waited for instructions for the next scene. Then we were told to get on the bus and go out to go to the next set. I didn’t expect the next set to be elsewhere, but they were casting for the disabled and knew I was in a wheelchair, so they were accessible transportation I thought it would provide. Unfortunately, I was wrong. The production assistant immediately approached me by saying “good news and bad news.” “The bad news is that you don’t have access to transportation to the next set. The good news is that you’re wrapped up early in the day!” He said. I was surprised and angry. They knew I was in a wheelchair, but decided to send me home instead of offering an alternative accessible means of transportation. My experience is unique, but performers with disabilities often face different levels of discrimination and exclusion.

People with disabilities make up 26% Only 5% of the U.S. population has disabilities TV character.. In addition, 95% of them are drawn by non-disabled actors.University of Southern California study In terms of movies and television, more than half (58) of the top 100 movies of 2018 do not contain characters with disabilities, and 83 movies include female characters with disabilities. I didn’t. In addition, of all the movies that include disabled characters in the last four years, 72.5% are male, 63.1% are white, and only two are LGB (lesbian, gay, or bisexual), with significant diversity. It further shows the lack.

According to 2016 Survey Actors with disabilities with invisible disabilities, conducted by The Ruderman Family Foundation, were more likely to gain auditions and roles than performers with visible disabilities. When asked about their experience in the entertainment industry, 75 of the 177 disabled respondents said they had a negative experience. One anonymous respondent said: “The biggest challenge I faced is people’s prejudice. They worry that when I realize I have amblyopia, I may not be able to work like anyone else. Many directors have told me that they respect never telling other directors about their disability.

“Cut out” A term often used by the disabled community to describe a non-disabled actor who plays a character with a disability.Some well-known examples to truncate include Tom Hanks Forrest GumpDustin Hoffman RainmanAnd Daniel Day-Lewis My left foot.. In particular, all of these actors won the Oscar for portraying characters with disabilities. This is not surprising as there are nearly 50% of non-disabled actors who play disabled characters. Probability is high To win.

However, little is thought about how it will affect the disabled community. Even if you see invalid characters on the screen, they are often portrayed negatively.Movies such as I before you Also Millions of dollars baby The disabled hero feels that life is not worth living and sometimes even expresses his desire to end his life.Will, the wealthy hero I before youI have a lot of opportunities and money to do what I want to do in my life, falling in love with a caretaker, having a quadriplegic accident, but I don’t want to live because of my disability, so I finally decide to commit suicide. Similarly, Millions of dollars baby The story of Maggie, a female champion boxer who asks her trainer Frankie to help her end her life after a quadriplegic. After Maggie’s attempt to commit suicide fails, Frankie grants Maggie’s wishes by injecting her with a deadly amount of adrenaline.

A movie like this boycott By disability activists for their harmful message.With a recent remake of the movie witchActor Anne Hathaway, who plays the witch, uses the old metaphor of being visibly evil by making her My hands breakThis is similar to a disability EctrodactylyDifferences in limbs characterized by missing fingers and toes, creating a nail-like appearance. People with disabilities, especially those with different limbs, protested the movie by posting a photo with the hashtag #NotAWitch to show that disability is not synonymous with evil.Hathaway Instagram I apologize, but this movie reminds me of how the media misrepresents disability.In addition, Sia’s new movie musicThe films she wrote and directed are centered around autistic characters, but are controversial because they are played by non-autistic actor and dancer Maddie Ziegler.Shea met Criticism By people with autism who worked with the group Autism Speaks Problematic organizationTo not cast any of Many autistic actors In a role. Next, Sia blamed Twitter’s autistic actor in a few angry tweets. One of them was a reply to someone who questioned her decision not to feature a person with autism. answered“Maybe you’re just a bad actor.”

It is also clear that the lack of on-screen representation of people with disabilities reflects the lack of off-screen representation.People with disabilities often experience Difficult Employment in all areas and working behind the scenes in the entertainment industry is no exception. The phrase “Nothing about us without us” occurrence It was used as a hashtag by South African disability rights advocates in the 1980s, especially by people with disabilities who demanded to consult and hire the entertainment industry, especially if the movie contained a disabled character.

Fortunately, some people with disabilities, such as actor and singer Ali Stroker, have recently broken through the entertainment industry. First wheelchair user To appear on Broadway at the show Awakening of spring. She was also the first person in a wheelchair to win a Tony Award for her performance in the play. Okurahoma! , And that The first woman in a wheelchair Appear in a lifelong Christmas movie. In addition, Kiera Allen was the first person to appear in a thriller movie in a wheelchair (Run)that’s all 70 yearsRJ Mitte, who plays Walter White Jr. in the Breaking Bad series Cerebral palsy in real lifeAnd Millicent Simmonds in the 2018 movie Quiet placeActually deaf.

However, since these actors are all white, diversity still has a long way to go. Expressions of crossing within the disabled community regarding race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. have not yet been addressed. Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of Respect Ability, a non-profit media organization for people with disabilities, said: With only 1.6% of speaking characters with disabilities in movies, we work with entertainment leaders to be positive, accurate and diverse in television and movies, compared to 25% of American adults with disabilities. We will promote comprehensive media depiction in. Disability affects all genders, races, ages, and sexual orientations. We want the film industry to understand that accurate, authentic, and diverse depictions of disability benefit everyone. “

About the author: Cheyenne Leonard Accessibility of Loreen Arbus is a basic programThe first fellowship established to train women with disabilities as professional journalists and to be able to write, investigate and report on the most important issues affecting the disabled community.

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Written by Fem Society

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