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In 1987, Nancy Mairs published an essay in which she examined how media presented disability. This essay also argues that media should portray disablement as something normal: the disabled should be portrayed as regular individuals who can still lead relatively normal lives. Nancy Mairs starts her essay by stating that she has been looking for a representation of her own self in the media; she had been looking for it for months but was unable to succeed in her endeavor. She argues that the reason why she failed at finding a proper representation of herself was the fact that the media failed to present individuals as something more than just their disability. When a disabled person is showcased in a television show or in a movie, it always happens that the character’s disability appears to be the determining factor of his or her existence.
Suffering from disability surely affects a person’s life; disablement is a major factor in the lives of those who suffer from such a state, whether it is physical or mental). However, the media fails to recognize that disabled individuals have other things to worry about and live for. There are other significant factors that come into play in the life of a disabled person. Disabled people still have families, they still have favorite movies and books; disabled people still go out shopping, meet friends, and dine out. Nancy Mairs highlights all of these aspects in her essay. She tries to show the readers that disability is a normal part of life and, for the most part, it is something that people do not choose. Disablement simply happens, mostly when a person least expects it. Due to this, the media should present disability as a common occurrence; disabled characters should be more than just their disability. People need to realize that disablement is not something that can and will happen at some point in life (especially to those who reach old age). Anyone can become disabled at any time. Believing differently is wrong.