“Don’t worry, pretty people don’t get MS”. Careless characterisations are not just hurtful, they are dangerous, claims Ardra Shepard in this blog article which discusses the role of media in portraying people with disability, particularly as not being attractive, desirable or sexual people. Disability, good looks, and fashion are not mutually exclusive. Ardra says, “Diversity is a hot topic. It means recognizing our differences, seeing what distinguishes us from the majority and then throwing a party hat on it and embracing it. … Across multiple media, disability is underrepresented, misrepresented, or just plain ignored.”
Editor’s note: Yes, the media still uses the heroes and villains theme for people with disability (as well as older people): if they are not a burden (NDIS), they are heroes (paralympians). Phrases such as “confined to a wheelchair” and “overcoming adversity” are still being used in the media.