An Analysis of a Cultural or Media Representation of Disabled People/Disability.

Topics: Disability, Inclusion, Stereotype Pages: 3 (846 words) Published: December 9, 2010
When it comes to disability, society is often oblivious to the struggle many people face. Despite the progression and modernisation disabled people's private lives have undergone in the aftermath of political and medical progress, there has been no evolution of their public image (Riley, 2005). This is undoubtedly been a result of the misrepresentation of disability in the media, regardless of the fact as many as one in every five people in the world is disabled (Riley, 2005). There are few examples of disability being represented in various forms of media, using television as an example far too many productions promote stereotypes and myths that society contentedly accept, perhaps ad a result of lack of education. It is a television programme that I am going to base my analysis on, looking at how disability becomes an object of pity and highlighting promotion of stereotyping.

Little House on the Prairie is an American television series based on the 1932 book of the same name by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I will be examining the 1974 episode Town Girl-Country Party. This Particular episode focuses on a young disabled girl, Olga, who struggles to "fit in" with the rest of the children because of her impairment; one leg is shorter than the other. Before the audience know exactly why Olga is excluded from the group, the director uses certain techniques to highlight that Olga is "different" and in doing so reinforces common stereotypes. In the scene where Olga is at home, the house is very dimly lit, this is a vast contrast to the scene prior, where another house is very brightly lit and colourful. Dark lighting gives the audience a sense of depression, supporting the common impression that disabled people live sad and miserable lives, which we know is not the case.

When focusing on Olga's family, the camera angle is different to that of the scenes of the other family. The other family scenes, as well as being set in a brightly lit and colourfully decorated room,...

Bibliography: Davis, L. (1997). A disability studies reader.
Riley, C. (2005). Disability and the media: prescriptions for change. University press of New England.
Shakespeare, T. (1998). The Disability Reader: Social Science Perspectives . Continuum International Publishing .
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