Significant changes have accrued throughout the world in the last five decades. The world has seen everything from the third wave of feminism to celebrating the first Disability Pride month. The social, political, and economic advances are too significant for ignorance. But is that enough? Probably not!
Disability Inclusion In Media
Disability Inclusion as a concept came into existence around the 1980s and 90s. Since then, several laws and policies have been framed to ensure equal rights for disabled people. While the change has picked up pace in all spheres, media too has been equally vocal about disability inclusion. For example, workplaces today organize DEI events and give their attendees Diversity Merchandise as a takeaway. It is a simple example of how transformation occurs. However, media plays a significant role in promoting, manipulating, and influencing the ideas and perceptions of people about people, ideas, and things.
A child watches a movie based on ethnicity with the incorrect representation of his or someone else’s community. They may pick up the idea and either indulge in spreading the wrong message or inherit the mindset depicted in the movie.
The above example clearly shows the harm false media representation can cause our society. Plus, it can further marginalize an already marginalized community, making it harder for them to raise their voices and sustain their identity. The same happens when media represents a distorted image of life with disabilities. Dissemination of wrong ideas about Disability makes people perceive a disabled person as less than the societal standards of being a complete or perfect human.
But, the reality is far from the truth.
Media Can Play An Active Role In Disability Inclusion
Whether we talk about democracies or societies in general, media is a crucial arsenal to build or change people’s perceptions about an idea, thing, or person. It has been a harbinger of change throughout history with a fantastic portrayal of cultures and communities. Yet, it can be a victim of unconscious biases if the communities in question are not engaged in production processes.
The same holds for the media’s perception of disabilities. You must have seen in movies disabled characters being in misery and dire need of help. The characters you perceive as a reality of a disabled person’s life are only an assumption or theoretical analysis of a non-disabled writer and director. Therefore, engaging disabled people in media, whether in movies, dramas or documentaries, is essential to show an accurate picture of their life experiences.
Must-Watch Movies with an authentic portrayal of people with disabilities
Though media encompasses many forms of infotainment, TV, and movies are what the general audience consumes the most. Since the 1980s, this industry has witnessed a paradigm shift towards more inclusion of disabled people as actors, writers, and directors. It has boosted employment opportunities for disabled people in the media sector. The engagement of the disabled community in media is the first step toward the decent portrayal of their lives and destigmatizing Disability.
If you have been looking for movies with an authentic portrayal of disabled people, the following list is just for you:
- The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
- Children of a Lesser God (1986)
- Sound of Metal (2019)
- Run (2020)
- Drought (2020)
- Rising Phoenix (2020)
Disability inclusion needs more than just diversity inclusioncustom shopping bags with logo. It’s time companies ramp up their hiring processes to become more diverse and stop looking at Disability as something less.
It’s time to advance as a society that values, respects, and treats every human without discrimination.