For years, there has been a massive neglect towards the representation of disabled people in the media. In a world where phrases like ‘equality, diversity and inclusivity’ are no longer mere buzz words, it’s time to address one of the media’s biggest neglects.
The ad industry and its representation
Think of the times you’ve come across an advertisement while scrolling through your social media newsfeed. In today’s world, there’s simply no escaping them. Most of us do indeed have our favorite set of ads that we’ve encountered over the years. The most memorable ones often did strike a chord, for all the right reasons.
For starters, it triggered an emotion, be it sheer joy or a tear-jerking reaction. However, the main reason why an ad continued to run in our heads after all this while, is down to one aspect. Relatability. We could relate to the specific scene and understand the context of the ad. However, spare a thought for those who did not feel the same.
The main reason, is because the rest of the community simply could not relate to the ad. There were no similarities to their lifestyles and the daily challenges they faced. For instance, if McDonald’s wanted to target consumers in Southeast Asia to try their new burger, they would not get a white person to star in the shoot. Likewise, don’t expect many females to buy into your gym membership, if your highway billboard consists purely of half naked men, built like Greek gods.
Addressing disability in the media
For a disabled person, that’s exactly how they feel, on most occasions. Disability is heavily under-represented in the media. When it’s not however, you’d struggle to find an image that depicts the daily life of a disabled person. Unfortunately, the media is sometimes guilty of over-glorifying disability, where every image features a handicapped athlete. While there’s nothing wrong about a person overcoming their disability, this must not be the only narrative.
Additionally, the concept of disability does not limit itself to a wheelchair user. Instead, this also branches out to people dealing with health conditions like down syndrome and cerebral palsy. Therefore, further emphasizing the need for an accurate representation of disabled people.
Check out our image collection for your next media campaigns here!