I’m trying to learn for my Social Science class and I’m stuck. Can you help?
Respond to both posts in your own words by either agreeing/disagreeing with their points and stating why or why not.
1) I agree with the fact that in mainstream culture the ‘abnormalities’ involving the disabled communities are often emphasized/stressed. With this comes a sense of hardship for disabled individuals to overcome. This issue is nothing new, “Evidence of society’s fascination with perceived bodily abnormalities persisted throughout the Middle Ages” (Barnes and Mercer, 2001). The disabled population have been called slanderous words such as freaks and fools. They have also been put on display during festivals, parties etc. all for the amusement and entertainment of others.
One of the articles for this week states, “This reluctance to depict disabled women as sexual beings or in traditional female roles as wives and mothers is explored by two Australian writers, Helen Meekosha and Leanne Dowse (1997). They point to the contradiction between the general support by the disabled people’s movement for images of disabled people in ‘normal’ roles and the desire of feminists to challenge gender stereotypes” (Barnes and Mercer, 2001). I appreciate individuals like Helen and Leanne who are taking a stand in bringing inclusion to mainstream culture. Although there are still instances of this behavior, I honestly believe I have seen progress when it comes to mainstream culture and the disabled population. A specific actress stands out to me who I have seen in two very popular shows. Jamie Brewer is an American actress with down syndrome who I first saw in the show The Secret Life of the American Teenagerback in 2008. In this show, Jamie was treated equally, she had a pivotal role, as well as a love interest. Jamie Brewer has also had an essential role in the American Horror Story series where she plays a variety of roles throughout the various seasons. I have never watched AHS and thought that she was treated poorly due to her disability. To me, that is progress and I would personally love to see more of this type of representation in films especially.
There is still a long way to go when it comes to inclusion in mainstream culture regarding the disabled population, however, it is nice to see steps being taken. Disabilities do not define a person. They are individuals just like me or you who happen to have a disability. Disabilities do not have to be seen as something that completely consumes an individual. I wish more people were able to see that and to portray that for others to see as well.
2) The mainstream culture has always displayed disabled people in society with some form of lack. It has always been a struggle for these people to see how they are perceived in mainstream culture. Notably, over the years it is evident from several scholars such as Victoria Pitt has stressed on how the mainstream media exposes the abnormalities of the disabled people. The problem is the intention behind them exposing these issues and instead of showing the society that these people should be integrated into society, they make them feel like they are left out. Besides, the mainstream culture views disability like fear and something that cant happen to a person which is wrong (Davidson, 2016). In other cases, people use these abnormalities to make fun which is very hurtful to disabled people. Even more, the negative perspective of people with disability has put them at a disadvantage where they are sidelined by the mainstream culture.
People with disabilities have been sidelined in the mainstream culture since time immemorial where they were excluded from performance acts. In some traditions, getting a child with a physical disability was considered a taboo (Davidson, 2016). Therefore, the mainstream culture also makes these people feel the same on their disability where they are neglected and sidelined from most activities. The mainstream culture should not make these people feel like this rather they should consider them as members of the society at large. Mainstream culture dictates what these people should do and put them in a certain bracket. Moreover, the have defined their opportunities, experiences, jobs, and boundaries to their life. Therefore, these people are left out and miss a lot of things in life.
In conclusion, it is essential to understand that disabled people are part of our society and deserve the best. We should shift our perceptions and views about these people and offer them the best in society. By so doing, we will make the world a better place to be. Remember, the person with a disability can one day be a friend, your daughter, mother-in-law or father.