Commercials and Advertising


I feel like when you apply the things we learned in Wilkerson's and Rubin's readings to the media and advertising, you can really see how prejudice and one-sided it can be. When was the last time you ever seen a disabled person on TV besides a hospital or in a TV show. People with disabilities are never really shown on TV. They usually make appearances here and there, but in true society, they are a part of our life, but in TV land, they do not exist. It's the same thing with different races. It is not very often you see an Asian person on TV, unless they were playing the stereotypical role. The way media portrays minorities and disabilities are unfair, but they are never examined or questioned.


I agree that there aren't a lot of disabled people in TV shows, but I can actually think of one where one of the main characters is disabled and his disability becomes a big part of the show: Friday Night Lights. One of the main characters, Jason Street, is the star high school quarterback in the small town of Dillon, TX. In the first episode, he gets injured badly and is told that he won't be able to walk again. Before the accident, he had a serious girlfriend, Lila, who stays by his side through all the trauma. There is a scene where they try to have sex in the hospital, but a nurse interrupts and tells him that him that it could be harmful to him. Eventually, their relationship falls apart, because his life continues to change in other ways--he has no desire to finish high school, his dreams of playing in the NFL are destroyed, and he no longer finds himself in love with Lila. He goes on to date other girls, and actually gets a girl pregnant.(Sorry if you're watching the show from the beginning, I hope I'm not ruining it for you!) His life inevitably changes and at first he despises this, but later it becomes extremely meaningful and positive to him. The reason I bring this up is, I think that it gives the audience an insight into what a disabled person experiences. I wonder what really happens when someone experiences a traumatic injury that leaves them permanently disabled. Do these newly disabled people lose sight of their ambitions? Do relationships with others fall apart? Do you think that the makers of Friday Night Lights portray the life of a disabled person realistically? Would you rather be born disabled or become disabled later in life?

I agree that it's very rare to see disabled people and people of certain races portrayed in the media. I was trying to think the other day about what would happen if a disabled person tried to get into the acting or modeling business. Are there roles that he/she could play or portray that any non-disabled person could? I definitely notice the lack of ethnic or minority characters in the media, and rarely see an asian, hispanic, african american, etc., on the cover of magazines or playing lead roles. As a white, non-disabled person, I couldn't even imagine how frustrating it would be for minorities and disabled people going about their daily lives and never seeing their race/group represented. I definitely think I take it for granted that I can enter a store or classroom and find that the majority of people are my race and non-disabled. It would be very uncomfortable and alienating to be the odd-person-out.

This is a really good point to bring up. Because of our society's strive for "perfection", disabled people are given less opportunities because they are viewed as "imperfect". Basically anyone who doesn't fit our cultures standards of beauty doesn't have much of a chance of having a successful acting career.

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