English Literature / Film & TV Studies
The Image of Disability in the Film Industry and its Sociocultural Implications
This research will investigate how disability is portrayed in the film and television industry and what the sociocultural and psychological implications are of such portrayal. It will discuss why it is important that the entertainment industry stops exploiting disability for shock value and as a means of earning profit. First, data provided by World Health Organization and the Black Doll study will be presented in order to determine how environmental factors such as film contribute to discrimination and lowering self-esteem. Then, the article will explore how disability can be read in film by making references to Paul Hunt’s theory of stereotypes and data provided by researchers from the University of Southern California. Next, three films —Freaks (1932), Me Before You (2016) and The Shape of Water (2017) —will be compared in order to determine the degree to which they promote the inclusion of disability in our society. Finally, the article will examine why television programs are the best medium to standardize the appearance of disability on-screen and in real lives.