Glee, Breaking Bad, and Parenthood
Chapter 2. Mapping Out Disability
← 28 | 29 →Chapter Two
Mapping Out Disability
Stereotype assumptions about disabled people are based on superstition, myths and beliefs from earlier less enlightened times. They are inherent to our culture and persist partly because they are constantly reproduced through the communications media. We learn about disability through the media and in the same way that racist or sexist attitudes, whether implicit or explicit, are acquired through the “normal” learning process, so too are negative assumptions about disabled people. (Barnes, 1992, p. 5)
The focus of this chapter is an examination of the various theories and philosophies that both support and discredit the use of media as a tool for empowering individuals living with disabilities. I look at network television as a form of popular media that has become a driving force in the portrayal and propagation of the various roles and stereotypes of contemporary culture. This approach allows me to explore the power ← 29 | 30 →of this media in representing marginalized groups and in transmitting its messages to children/youth and to delve deeper into how the standards that the media have constructed might influence the development of the self-image of individuals living with disabilities.
Individuals living with disability often are misrepresented and discriminated against because of their differences (Barnes, 1991). For a generation that relies heavily on the media for introduction and exposure to marginalized and underrepresented groups, it becomes essential to acknowledge how media affect the masses. Television,...
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