Disability on TV

About 15 years ago, the biggest criticism of Disability on TV was that there was not much of it, or it was not so obvious. Disability has always been there but in ways many disabled people did not relate to.

Now disability is slowly becoming mainstream on TV within soaps and sports programmes, with increase awareness of the paralympics of the London 2012 games soon approaching. So with the increased and improved of disabled people as well people, I was slightly surprised and disheartened to see a promo of Channel 4 called Seven Dwarfs.

While ‘little person’ are quite fashionable in TV land and they have every right to tell their stories in whatever way they wish, it is evidence that the ‘freak show’ is alive and kicking, if not all put under the illusion of a documentary. In this way, the documentary aims to fashion disabled people as them, who are bizzarely unique, rather than them. Whether it is form the medical model cure or die perspective or the social model anti-non-disabled perspective, the aim is to create a feeling of separation.

This got me thinking further as to whether this matters anyway? With the rise of social model and other new forums where everything has improved opportunities to be heard, is television now still as important for the national concious as it once was? Or has television become just a form of entertainment which is as relevant as opera?

As always, only time will tell.

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