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Sunday, May 7, 2023

Disability Representation

Andrew Pulrang at Forbes:
Every casting of a model with a disability, especially a visible one, sets a precedent for hiring more. This increases the chances that people with disabilities might realistically make a successful career in fashion modeling. It’s a pretty simple equation, though of course not very large-scale in an industry as relatively small as modeling.

The same hope is more significant in other professions where people with disabilities have traditionally been seen as longshots, niche performers, or incompatible – like medicine, acting, and sports. The hope for disabled people is that one or two high-profile disabled people can generate more opportunities for others, including possibly themselves.

Seeing disabled people in jobs and activities that seem to contradict old, ableist ideas about disability can help change those ideas. Candace Owens’ assumption that the sight of a woman in a wheelchair is unattractive and therefore incompatible with modeling is a case in point. And deliberately hiring and featuring disabled models is a simple, direct way of demonstrating that disability is entirely compatible with beauty and sex appeal.