Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Too Shocking Disability Advertisement?

See what you think for yourself before I give my 2 pence.
"It is the advertisement deemed too shocking for you to see. At any age, any one of us could be struck down with motor neurone disease – a fatal condition that robs its victims of their mobility, leaving healthy minds trapped within wasted bodies. But witness its ravaging effect on a real-life sufferer? That, the television censors have decided, is too graphic for viewers to handle."- Telegraph (UK)

Firstly, I'm against censorship, and my objections to this are not to say it should be banned from anywhere.
I'm all for a good shock job and getting people's attention, but this isn't a good use of shock on a couple of levels. Firstly, its disturbing not because of the disability aspects of it, but because it has overtones of abuse, rape and kidnapping. I debated putting it on this site because of this, but feel it raises some important issues (though not the one's intended).
On the disability side, it feeds the idea that disability is a horrific thing to be feared, and is a sentence. It's praying on people's fears to solicit money and equating disability to the imagery in this ad, is wrong and does a disservice to individuals with disabilities. Pity and fear are not emotions to build independence and civil rights for individuals with disabilities on.

What are your thoughts?

Sarah's Story site

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madrod said...

I agree with your observations. Perhaps one with a motor neuron disease feels like they have been raped, abused, or otherwise had their body violated against their wishes or control. Nevertheless, they are not the same. One is a violent crime committed at the hands of another while the other is not.

If I am being honest, I half expected to see an able bodied individual lurking behind a column posing as the wheelchair user.

By the way, doesn't Jerry Lewis and MDA use the pity card? Seems to have worked to raise millions and millions of $$ for MDA.

Maine VRC said...

Thanks for your comment. I agree, Jerry uses fear too, absolutely. It makes me cringe every time I see that Telethon. I know it works to raise money, but it doesn't serve to advance the rights of individuals with disabilities.
There's a story in No Pity about a woman who was a poster child, for Jerry's Kids I believe. She loved being all prettied up and people looking at her, but she later realized she was an object of fear, not love. Tough lesson.