Disability and Representation

La Voz de Galicia – December 3, 2021 →

Cristina PatoThe truth is that until we coincided at that conference about six years ago already, I had never stopped to reflect on that. Maysoon Zayid spoke about the importance of representations of handicapped people in the media, especially on television and in movies (Hollywood), and she shared her experience as an actress and comic in a manner that was as blunt as it was revelatory.

After meeting her and learning from the story of her life, I began to question things that before I was unable to even see (much less question). Because, as she herself shared in her virtual TED Talk, when she was studying theater in college, they never even invited her to be a part of the cast of a play where the main character was a woman with cerebral palsy, and ended up giving the role to an actress without disabilities…Maysoon Zayid is an activist, actress, and comedian with cerebral palsy who talks about the idea that handicapped people are «the largest minority in the world and the least represented in the entertainment industry» and who fights precisely to «create more positive images of disability in the media and in daily life.»

And I, today, during the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, saw her TED Talk again, as well as many other videos of other great differently-abled female comedians. And suddenly I thought about the right to be what one wants to be, about the right to lead one’s one way, about the right to dream about doing the impossible, about the right to normality…And I visualized again all these rights that, consciously or unconsciously, we tend to deny to those who seem different, like the right to representation.

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