The Media's Representation of Disabilities

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The Media’s Representation of Disabilities
The essays that Nancy Mairs and Rosie Anaya wrote discuss the media’s lack of proper representations for those with disabilities. Mairs speaks about how people with disabilities have the same sense of normality as those who do not. Anaya talks about how the media representation of physical disabilities eventually has improved but mental illnesses are portrayed on a much worse level creating fear. Mairs wrote her essay in 1987. She discusses how the media identified a person as the disability not as a person. Disabled people live with their disabilities day to day. Her key objective was to get the media to identify the people as humans with disability living “normal functional” everyday lives. She wanted to persuade the media not to identify or label the person as the disability. By exampling those as everyday people, with the acceptance of the disability as simple part of the person in normal life, would lessen the fear, stress, and concerns by those without exposure to disabilities. This creates an environment more knowledgeable and excepting of disabilities.

Anaya’s essay, wrote her essay in 2007. She writes about the improvements of the media’s roles in physical disabilities and the issues discussed in Mairs essay but points out the poor depiction of mental illness. Mental illnesses are portrayed in a way that the people with a mental illness are feared. The media’s shows exploit mental disabilities with plots that alarm and create high fear of the disability among the viewers. At the same time the news media today is often reporting horrific tragedies that are a result of individuals with mental illnesses.

In conclusion, disabilities should not have a reason to be feared. The media can depict physical disabilities as “acceptable” easier than mental disabilities due to the tragedies happening in the world related to the mental illnesses. The task to show mental disabilities as “acceptable”...
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