Authentic Disability Representation on US Television Past and Present

Authored by: Beth Haller

The Routledge Companion to Disability and Media

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138884588
eBook ISBN: 9781315716008
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter discusses authentic disability representation in US television from the 1970s to the present. It posits that disability representation advanced because of better news coverage of disability rights and subsequent TV plotlines, more disabled actors gaining visibility in principal character roles, more producers, directors and writers weaving their personal connections to disability into TV content and through reality TV giving actual disabled people production power within that genre. Authentic disability representation is a social justice issue and pushes back against the aesthetic disqualification that disability studies scholar Tobin Siebers theorized produces oppression of disabled people in the arts.

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