The Image of Disability

Essays on Media Representations


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About the Book

A mainstay of modern life, the global media gives out information about disabilities that is often inaccurate or negative and perpetuates oppressive stigmas and discrimination.

In response to representations that have been incomplete, misguided or unimaginative, this collection of new essays encourages scholars and allies to refashion media so as to disrupt the status quo and move toward more liberatory politics. Images in film, television and social media are assessed through the lenses of disabilities studies, media studies, cultural studies and intersectional studies involving critical race theory and gender.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

JL Schatz is the director of debate at Binghamton University, where he is a lecturer and teaches courses on media and politics out of the English department. He lives in Vestal, New York.
Amber E. George is an assistant professor of philosophy and diversity, equity, and inclusion at Galen College and has written and edited several books that explore social justice themes. She lives in Vestal, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by JL Schatz and Amber E. George
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 193
Bibliographic Info: bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6945-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3299-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface (JL Schatz and Amber E. George) 1

Introduction (JL Schatz and Amber E. George) 3

Part I. The Fiction of Disability in the Media

“One of Us” or Two? Conjoined Twins and the Paradoxical

Relationships of Identity in American Horror Story: Freak Show (Fiona ­Whittington-Walsh) 11

Power and Punishment in Game of Thrones (Mia Harrison) 28

Superheroes in a Silent World: Hawkeye and El Deafo (Bill Beechler, Jr.) 44

Jimmy’s Resistance, or Killing the Joy of Cruel Optimism in South Park (Sara Beth Brooks and Tyler Snelling) 61

Part II. The Gendered Reality of Disabled Representations

Disabling Masculinity: Masculine Fragility and the Discourses of Disability in AMC’s Breaking Bad (JL Schatz) 77

Deviant Sexuality: The Hypersexualization of Women with Bipolar Disorder in Film and Television (Hailee M. ­Yoshizaki-Gibbons and Meghann E. ­O’Leary) 93

A Kiss on the Train: Autism, Asexuality and the Conventions of Romantic Comedy (Sonya Freeman Loftis) 107

Part III. The Consequences Behind the Screen

“Making Invisible Disability Visible”: Paradoxes of the Seen and Unseen in Recent Social Media Campaigns Produced by Disabled People (Susan G. Cumings) 121

Between Representation and Reality: The Sighted and Sightless in Blind Massage (Jason Ho Ka Hang) 142

What’s Disability Got to Do with It? Media Accounts of Oscar ­Pistorius Before and After the Death of Reeva Steenkamp (Clare Harvey) 154

Disability and ­Cyber-Victimization (Zhraa A. Alhaboby, Hala Evans, James Barnes and Emma Short) 167

About the Contributors 183

Index 185

Book Reviews & Awards

“Schatz and George innovatively bring together the fields of disability studies and media studies in order to demonstrate the need to focus on how disability is represented in the media. They suggest that more work has to be done especially around disabled people as knowledge producers which includes image producers. A must read for anyone interested in intersectionality and challenging ability privilege.”—Dr Gregor Wolbring, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Alberta, Cananda