Friday, July 11, 2008

Disability, self image and sexuality

A recent London Times article talks about the rise in popularity of doll portraying individuals with disabilities. They give the example of a doll manufacturer who produces dolls which resemble individuals with Down's syndrome, and how there has been a positive reception to them by individuals with disabilities. They also note:

"They are not the only “disability dolls” available on the market. Far from it. You can buy dolls with prosthetic limbs, walking frames, hearing aids, “blind” dolls complete with guide dogs. When Mattel launched Becky - Barbie's friend in a wheelchair - it sold out within two weeks. In the past few years, the toy industry has been waking up to the fact that it makes good financial sense to cater for overlooked consumer groups."
Okay, so these dolls aren't designed to fit the unrealistic Barbie expectations of beauty. How about a disabled model? This is just what a british show "Missing Model" is attempting to do (and no the contestants are not all amputees). Catwalk Queen has an interesting article about the show and how it's "shining a light on disability in the fashion industry"
The Guardian had an opinion piece about the same issue, and is similarly conflicted to myself.

And of all places, Fox news actually has a decent article which is actually shining a light on the reality of individuals with disabilties being sexual.

Is showing an individual with a disability as a doll, sexual being, model appropriate? Of course! I guess I object to the model show because its saying that these women are beautiful as models, but couldn't compare to a non-disabled model. Sometimes I feel like I should be thankful that there's an awareness of disability and that it can be sexy and worthy of a show. Good on them for recognizing that, but separate, no.

1 comment:

g2bn2n said...

Nice...I'd say I have to agree with the "separate no" comment. Fortunately the Miss America pagent has not fallen pray to the separate show and it is great to see some contestants with disabilities in this venu and winning. I have to wonder though if winning was the result of the judges believing she was "brave and couragous", were they feeling a sense of duty, or perhaps feeling pressure to vote for the disabled contestant for fear of discrimination? I do not know. I certainly hope it was because she was the best contestant. Do you think other contestants honestly believe she was the best or did she have some "advantage" in overcomeing her disabilty and competing at this level?

On another's nice to come across this blog and have to say I came across it quite by chance. It looks like not many are reading (or at least responding). That's too bad. Do you ever think you are just writing for yourself? I'll have to start one of these and see where it leads.

Thanks J--- for the blog and posts. Some interesting things here.