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Disabilities in the Media: The Road to Better Representation

Disabilities in the Media: The Road to Better Representation

Representation is far more than a Hollywood buzzword. A positive portrayal in the media can completely change the way the general public thinks about a marginalized group, and while the landscape is far from perfect, there are now a growing number of films and TV shows that feature characters (and actors) from a diverse array of backgrounds and experiences. Unfortunately, most conversations about representation still tend to exclude people with disabilities. According to a recent white paper from the Ruderman Family Foundation, able-bodied actors were cast to play the...
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A Star is Reborn: How Lady Gaga Handles Chronic Pain & Mental Health

A Star is Reborn: How Lady Gaga Handles Chronic Pain & Mental Health

In many cases, pain is only half the battle. Dealing with a chronic condition will often take a severe toll on someone’s mental health, and that remains as true for Lady Gaga as it does for everyone else. The celebrated pop star elaborated on some of those mental health issues during a recent sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey. While Lady Gaga has been quite candid about her struggles with fibromyalgia in the past, the interview provided more context and gave fans a better understanding of its mental impact. She was particularly forthcoming about a psychotic break that...
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What does Joker have to say about mental illness?

What does Joker have to say about mental illness?

Joaquin Phoenix has received nearly universal acclaim for his award-winning turn as Arthur Fleck – aka the Joker – in one of the most talked-about movies of 2019. Under the direction of Todd Phillips, Joker showed audiences how an aspiring stand-up comic slowly grew into the titular supervillain after a long struggle with mental illness. Yet despite the warm response to Phoenix’s performance, the reception to the film itself has been far more uneven. That’s particularly true with regards to Joker’s controversial depiction of mental health. Fans of the film view it as an...
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The Dangerous Pseudoscience of The Goop Lab

The Dangerous Pseudoscience of The Goop Lab

Since Gwyneth Paltrow started Goop in her kitchen in 2008 – it began as a newsletter – the actress, celebrity, and self-proclaimed health guru has come under serious scrutiny for the practices she preaches. From NASA healing stickers and apitherapy to $15,000 24-karat gold vibrators and vaginal steaming, Paltrow has made some outrageous claims about what you need to live a “healthier”, and overall better life. At the heart of Paltrow’s intentions seems to be the desire to help people, women specifically, get more in touch with their bodies and their power....
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Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Disability in Television

Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Disability in Television

There’s a long history of problematic representation of persons with disabilities in film and television. From being portrayed as villainous or helpless (see Darth Vader and Tiny Tim) to being used as inspiration fodder or the butt of a joke (Forrest Gump), persons with disabilities have often been used as plot devices rather than being portrayed as human beings. However, despite this long-standing trend, things are changing.  Arguably one of the best television shows of all time, Breaking Bad, did wonders for representations of people with disabilities with the...
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Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings And Representations Of Multiple Sclerosis

Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings And Representations Of Multiple Sclerosis

When it comes to representation of people with disabilities in film and television, we’re progressively starting to see some growth and change. But while we’re starting to do away with the harmful tropes of the past, there’s still a lot of work left to be done.  People with disabilities – be it an addiction, mental illness, neurological condition, or physical disability – tend to be forced into certain categories. For the most part, they’re used more as plot devices than characters in their own right. In this way, their humanity is stripped from them, and...