24 August 2012
Nancy Mairs on Disability in the Media
Nancy Mairs' searched for months for something on television or in the media that represented women like her. When I say "women like her", this means disabled, she is a forty-three year old woman with Multiple Sclerosis. Her purpose for writing this is to reveal how the media takes the disability and excludes everything else about the person with the disability. Real people are much more complex, and their disability is not all that they are. She also points out that everyone should be “accustomed to seeing disability as a normal characteristic, one that complicates but does not ruin human existence.” At the end of her essay, Mairs’ thesis states that “Achieving this integration, for disabled and able-bodied people alike, requires that we insert disability daily into our field of vision: quietly, naturally, in the small and common senses of our ordinary lives.”
Mairs’ description of herself and her disability lead me to believe that she assumes among her audience, most of the readers do not have a disability. She describes to the audience how she, just like everyone else, does laundry, drives a car, eats pizza, etc. She even says that she is “an advertiser’s dream: Ms. Great American Consumer. And yet the adveretisers, who determine nowadays who will get represented publicly and who will not, deny the exisistence of me and my kind absolutely.” (Mairs)
Some of her examples and the things Mair compared and contrasted throughout this essay were quite comical. She wrote about how she asked a local advertiser why he have people with disabilities in his ads, and the advertiser replied, "We don't want to give people the idea that our product is just for the handicapped." (Mair). Mairs reply to this absurdity with, "If you saw me pouring puppy biscuits, would you think these kibbles were only for the puppies of the cripples?"
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