We start off our month-long look at Down syndrome in the media by mentioning the advocacy that is happening in this area. Disability groups of all types are busy addressing problems of underrepresentation and negative stereotypes that are prevalent in our films, art, literature, and other media types. Respectability, is leading the way in this area and they published a piece last year with some interesting findings.
- One-in-five (22.9%) characters with disabilities in popular family films fit the “Super Crip” stereotype – the idea that a person with a disability needs to “overcome” their disability.
- Nearly one-in-ten (8.6%) characters with disabilities are portrayed using the “Bitter Crip” stereotype – the idea that a character becomes a villain due to being overcome by their “suffering.”
We hope you’ll take the time to read the full report and get an understanding of what the current landscape looks like, the bad and the hope for the future. It’s so important that we pay attention to what is happening in big picture of disability representation as well as the Down syndrome specific arena.
We have some bright stars out there that we can support!
For more information:
- The Ruderman Family Foundation’s white papers on this and other topics
- Respectability’s Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit: The RespectAbility Guide to Inclusion in the Entertainment Industry
Gareth M. Thomas’s research paper: “The media love the artificial versions of what’s going on”: Media (mis)representations of Down’s syndrome.“