How Can Disability Representation in Media be Improved?

Sep 22, 2018

Anonymous asks, quote:

I’m currently trying to write a story where one of the main characters uses a wheelchair full‐time. What types of problems do you wish were portrayed about disabilities in the media, and what are some of the inaccuracies that you wish you could clear up?

end quote.

I want disabled characters that are portrayed as leaders instead of dead weight.

I want fewer stories focused on disabled characters overcoming or accepting their disability.

I want disabled characters don’t go through an emotional crisis because of their disability.

I want supporting characters who don’t tell the disabled character to “stay positive”.

I want a disabled character to be the protagonist.

I want authors to stop writing stories where a disabled character kills themselves.

I want disabled characters to swear vengeance on the thing that didn’t put them in a wheelchair, for once.

I want a disabled character that is competent in the face of physical danger. I’m tired of them being the hacker or sidekick that feeds information to the “real heroes”.

I want writers to stop using disability as the ultimate tragedy. Becoming disabled is not the worse thing that can happen to someone.

I want able‐bodied authors to research and create realistic disabled characters. I want them to hire a sensitivity editor to make sure there’s no harmful tropes or stereotypes in their story. If the editor does find something, I want the author to listen to the feedback and apply it.

I want authors who are not disabled to stop writing stories about what it is like to live with a disability. Instead, they should support disabled authors who do write that kind of story.