Increasing Disabled/Other-Abled Representation in Media — Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #83

At least 20% of us have some sort of dis­abil­i­ty, yet such con­di­tions are reflect­ed by only tiny por­tion of TV and film char­ac­ter­i­za­tions, and what char­ac­ters are por­trayed typ­i­cal­ly get played by non-dis­abled actors. Depic­tions often focus on what it’s like to live with the con­di­tion. This can of course be social­ly ben­e­fi­cial, but we don’t want to essen­tial­ize peo­ple as their con­di­tions, so it’s even more use­ful to fea­ture dis­abled actors and char­ac­ters when the plot is not about their dis­abil­i­ty.

Pret­ty Much Pop hosts Mark Lin­sen­may­er, Eri­ca Spyres, and Bri­an Hirt are joined by play­wright Kay­la Dryesse to talk about hur­dles to rep­re­sen­ta­tion, dis­abil­i­ty cul­ture, whether “dis­abil­i­ty” is even the right word, neg­a­tive stereo­types (no less than five James Bond vil­lains are in wheel­chairs!), and issues in por­tray­ing dis­abil­i­ty relat­ed to the­ater, com­e­dy, hor­ror, and super­heroes. Some shows men­tioned include Speech­less, Atyp­i­cal, Every­thing’s Gonna Be Okay, Break­ing Bad, Glee, The Stand, The Witch­es, and The Great British Bake-Off.

Learn more from these arti­cles:

Also, watch Stel­la Young’s TED talk, called “I’m Not Your Inspi­ra­tion, Thank You Very Much;” the episode of Drunk His­to­ry about 504 acces­si­bil­i­ty; and Ste­vie Won­der’s SNL par­o­dy of a cam­era com­mer­cial.

Hear more of this pod­cast at This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion that you can access by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts.

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.