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- We have to address the lack of representation of people with disabilities in arts, music, dance, cinema, theater, and media.
- We are not visible and when we are featured, we are often shown negatively stereotyped.
- We are depicted as objects of pity or as superheroes who have achieved great successes.
Both of these scenarios are not what represents the majority of disabled people. Due to lack of awareness, there is a stigma attached to disabilities and certainly, there are misconceptions around how we are supposed to live our lives.
There is a need for a balanced portrayal of disabled people as individuals and disability as part of everyday lives. Different modes of media can play a more constructive role in making society inclusive for all and successfully integrating disabled people in all aspects of societal lives.
Through humor, retrospection and empathy, we can address the most difficult questions around disability and initiate conversations we as a society generally avoid.
- Our goal is to create a more empathetic and patient society which is only possible by spreading awareness and sensitizing people on everyday challenges disabled people face.
- We want to strongly imply that disability doesn’t mean less abled.
- We have to change the perceptions of disabled and non-disabled towards disability for thorough and real inclusion
Puneet Singh Singhal is the neurodivergent founder of 123ssstartmore
Representation is not limited only to one circumstance. Representation is immense and is supported by the intersectionality that creates a world of different lived experiences due to several factors associated with all the pieces that build diversity: race, ethnicity, native language, sexual orientation, disability, etc.
Eliana Tardío is a Latina Influencer, Diversity Leader, and Inclusion Advocate. Originally published at ElianaTardio.com
I have known that representation matters for a long time, or I used to believe I knew. I have learned that my voice is unique and will always be biased around my own needs and perceptions of the world throughout the years. I can speak on behalf of many in different areas, but I will never have the ability to represent anyone other than my family and me.
This is how it’s impossible to work or advocate from assumptions. Everyone needs to find a place around the table. And even though we will never have a large enough table for everyone to sit simultaneously, that door needs to remain open 24/7 through different ways of accessing the table when people are ready with no delay.
In a world of hierarchies and idolatry for superiority and seniority, it’s hard to come to the table from the heart and without scientific support or academic knowledge. Still, we have to keep fighting to go back to the absolute truth that love is a powerful force that is strengthened by individuality and projected through passion, faith, and commitment.
Minorities experience the weight of the challenges associated with disability. Still, they also have to deal with the pressure of never feeling enough due to the biases that society often labels as moral values or mandatory requirements that need to be met to be considered worthy of respect and consideration. Those dangerous beliefs leave behind those who are unable to achieve these expectations, erasing their voices, contributions, and human dignity.
These are complex and absurd thoughts for many, and still, they are real, and they need to be addressed if we ever want to understand why representation matters.more
“People with disabilities have been symbolically, if not literally, erased from mainstream advertisements and editorial images carries with it very real implications. As cultural products, these images and advertisements play an important role in shaping public preferences… Diversity in fashion may be on the rise but cultural change is often slow. The advertisements produced by Aerie, Nike, and Tommy Hilfiger represent an important step forward in the posturing and portrayal of disability in the mainstream media. But as our analyses indicate, diversity is packaged and framed in particular, often narrow, ways.”
Foster J, Pettinicchio D. A model who looks like me: Communicating and consuming representations of disability. Journal of Consumer Culture. June 2021. doi:10.1177/14695405211022074