Nancy Mairs is a writer afflicted with multiple sclerosis. In her essay, "Disability", she explains how the media fails to accurately portray individuals living with a debilitating disease. This causes people with a handicap to feel inadequate, isolated, and lonely. Consequently, the media's lack of depiction hinders the able-bodied person's ability to understand, interact, and accept disability as normal. Mairs wants disability to be portrayed in everyday life that way others can be aware of those who have handicaps and realize that they are just like everyone else. Mairs succeeds to get her point across by drawing in the reader with her strong diction as well as using personal experiences and humor in support of her statements.
Mairs shocks the reader when she refers to herself as "crippled". Our culture shuns the use of this word when describing someone that is disabled because it is known to be disrespectful. Yet she chose this word, as offensive as it may be, as a strong acknowledgement of her condition and as a message to those who want to use her disability to define her. She uses this dysphemism to describe her reality and to say that pity is the very last thing that she wants from anyone. What she wants is to feel like she belongs by representation.
Not only does Mairs use shocking words but shocking examples. She states how she "hasn't noticed any women like me on television" (13). This makes the reader feel her isolation and her need to find a positive reflection of herself in the media. Mairs then expresses her disappointment at a television show that portrayed a woman with multiple sclerosis, because "that was the whole point of the show: that this poor young woman had MS" (13). Mairs doesn't want media to depict disabled individuals as helpless and impaired, she doesn't want them to focus only on what they cannot do, but what they can do. Mairs argues that that the media has a responsibility to portray people with...
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