It’s been a while, three weeks to be exact, since my last post for
The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge.
Well, while “I can see!” would have been a great reason to miss a weekly feature like this one, I was actually participating in a monthly blogging initiative and getting pulled into a stupid mistake.
More about that later this week.
Q: What things are most important to you when it comes to media representation for people with disabilities or your disability in particular?
A: There is a lot to this. Hard for me to choose just one thing, to even attempt to narrow down the subject matter.
I do know there was a lot of talk, in speeches at the 2015 Academy Awards, about being who you are and standing up for homosexuality, gender equality, and other rights for those with disabilities.
There were several films about people living with disabilities that were nominated or that won awards.
A blind person can’t act.
Well, okay they can, but they don’t. I think it’s a strange thing. I did it a few times.
Granted, it was only a small part in my eighth grade school play, but I admit I felt the adrenaline of being up there, on stage, in front of a crowd.
Not seen. Not heard.
There was a recent storyline on a popular daytime soap opera recently.
A character on The Young and the Restless went blind in a fluke and a terrible electrical accident.
At first he was really angry and threatened to return to his old habit of drinking, to dull the pain of feeling like a burden.
Okay, not so out of the question because going blind, so suddenly, that could happen.
Now, I am aware soap operas aren’t normally known for their authenticity. They often have crazy and outrageous plot lines.
This particular soap had a character, back in the nineties, that was blind.
This time, this particular character’s blindness was a temporary affliction. It was never intended to be permanent.
“What kind of a man can I be for you? I can’t even see.”
This line hit a nerve, when I heard it. Of course he said it while drowning in self-pity, but it’s all in how things are perceived and portrayed.
The character got a wake-up call and began to learn braille. He took on the responsibility of his own independence and began using a cane.
This storyline was used to run a certain course, to play it’s part. Then it was over.
Media is a very powerful force in most people’s lives, whether they want to admit that or not.
The media does have a certain responsibility for how it shines a light on disability in our culture.
As long as disability is seen as a burden and an affliction, in the medias eyes, that is how everyone else will see it too.
Change does come, if not interminably slow from the perspective of those eagerly awaiting the change in question.
I am currently checking out the Netflix original series: Marvel’s Daredevil.
A blind superhero. What do you know.
Netflix Begins Audio Description For Visually Impaired
What’s cooler than a Marvel superhero?
Making one of these cool guys blind can only help in the media representation, right?
Well, that is yet to be seen, but I have been reading about the outcry to make the show watchable for the very people who might want to watch this phenomenon play out and couldn’t.
The Accessible Netflix Project
Advocates, such as Robert Kingett, are fighting for accessibility. In some cases, it’s working, slowly but surely.
Of course then there’s the inevitable counter-argument to be made, and it has been made alright.
I read a recent Facebook status from a visually impaired guy on my newsfeed that questioned why only a series about a blind superhero would be given audio description.
Netflix seems to be making other shows accessible as well, but only time will tell how far this goes.
I haven’t even gotten this to work for my television.
At the start of certain shows now, I will hear an announcement to let me know:
“This show is available in descriptive for the visually impaired.”
Unfortunately, I haven’t even figured out how to access this most of the time.
It’s not made easy.
I am now working on Netflix. I would like to give Daredevil a shot, to see if it’s as brilliant a show as others have said and if I can let go of my own issues, to just enjoy the show and the character, and not let the hype bother me.
Because like a lot of human beings, I am rarely ever happy and satisfied.
When there are no visually impaired characters represented in the media I am upset.
Then, as soon as one appears (slow progress, like I said) I am still not appeased.
I can be as fickle as the next person. I don’t know what will bring the best kind of awareness and what is the best way to represent the section of society that is often seen as lacking or poor off.
I am off to see if I can figure out how to access audio description for Daredevil.
After Fan PRessure, Netflix Makes “Daredevil” Accessible For The Blind – NPR
Do you think disability is represented well enough in the media? What do you think could be done yet still?
Do you watch “Daredevil” and what are your thoughts on a blind superhero?