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Research Proposal

Posted on March 8, 2018

Introduction: Would you say that film and television currently portrays disability in the same positive light that nondisabled people are typically portrayed in? The answer could be opinionated. However it is still clear that film and television have a tendency to portray disabled people from the position of a victim or someone who needs help rather than a position of power more often than not. Society’s views on disability are partially molded by the way disability is seen on television. If an adult or child is constantly seeing disabled actors portrayed as victims or people incapable of holding their own, then it is easy for a negative connotation to be associated with disability. Whatever stigma film and television creates will be presented will be presented to both disabled and nondisabled individuals, as well as adults and children. This raises the question if disability on television is currently represented/portrayed in a way that is fair and equal as well as if its paints disability in a positive connotation to society.

Rationale: I myself a mot disabled, however I do have multiple family friends/people in my life who are living with disability whether it be mental or physical. Poor portrayal of disability in society is not something that they appreciate, or find appealing. It could actually going through daily lives with disability even more challenging because people may already have preset expectations of what disability is supposed to be like due to the negative representation they see on television. I understand this concept and have seen it happen to disabled individuals,

Research plan: I do not know much about the topic outside of the differences of disability being portrayed in the position of a victim vs. the position of power, as well as the different genre’s/type of television that tends to group disability into these negative connotations. A good amount of what I know comes from things I have seen. I intend to research more about things such as pay difference between disabled actors and nondisabled, portrayal among children’s shows and movies in comparison to regular television, as well as the factual information regarding how often disabled characters/actors are given more demeaning roles or lessened because of their disability.

Implications:  This is an important topic of research because it has some control over the way disability is perceived by society. No individual wants to be viewed as a victim or someone who cannot help themselves because of something affecting them that they cannot control. The same applies to disability. If disability was portrayed with a more positive and accurate light in television and film, society’s understanding of it could improve along with the way disability is addressed. People would no longer have negative assumptions and connotations associated with disability.


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