So tonight I watched the latest episode of BBC’s Casualty, wherein the clinical lead Connie is currently having to undergo treatment for cancer of the heart and (spoiler alert) makes an unexpected/unwanted (?) pass at Ethan: her colleague who has been helping her through it. For some reason this stuck in my throat. At the time I couldn’t think why, so I proceeded to watch another film that gave me a similar feeling, Me Before You, and having done so, I believe I have found the root of the vine of irritation entangling many media portrayals of disability, for me.
Quite simply: television and film seem to imply that in order for disabled character to be valid, the afflicted must be, a) extremely attractive, b) wealthy/successful proffessionally, or c) able to overcome ‘normal expectations’. Any characters who do not meet these requirements simply don’t exist, on the whole: I believe Eastenders has a non-remarkable disabled character, but that’s the exception not the regular.
Look, I don’t wanna become known as the woman always ‘having a go’ at media portrayals of disability, but, like everyone else, I’d like to see a normal character ‘a bit like me’ pop up on my tele sometime!