Disability Stereotypes in Popular Culture

Stereotypes are groups of attitudes which have little or no basis in reality and yet persist in cultures. Stereotyping reduces the individuality and character of people to false social constructs. This leads to name-calling and violence towards the subjects of stereotyping, undercutting the humanity of the victims.

There are ten main stereotypes of disabled people:

1. Pitiable and pathetic; sweet and innocent; a miracle cure

2. Victim or an object of violence

3. Sinister or evil

4. Atmosphere - curios or exotica in 'freak shows', and in comics, horror movies and science fiction

5. 'Super-crip'/ triumph over tragedy/noble warrior

6. Laughable or the butt of jokes

7. Having a chip on their shoulder/ aggressive avenger

8. A burden/ outcast

9. Non-sexual or incapable of a worthwhile relationship

10. Incapable of fully participating in everyday life

(Based on Biklen and Bogdana, 1977. Amended by R. Rieser and M. Mason: Disability Equality in the Classroom, 1992).

Find out more about these and many other films on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) at www.imdb.com