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Why Disability Representation in Advertising is Important – I’m in a Target Catalogue

Why Disability Representation in Advertising is Important – I’m in a Target Catalogue


so this happened
hi, hello, my name is Robyn Lambird, I’m 19 years old and living with Cerebral Palsy but
you guys know me as the Trex and you’re watching My Trex Life. Ok guys, so I recently became on of the first
adults with a visible disability to feature in a nation wide advertising campaign for
a major Australian retail company. i.e a big ass department store. So today I thought I’d talk to you guys about
the importance of of disability representation in advertising. Now compared to other forms of media like
television and film, advertising can seem a little boring. But it’s actually the one of the farthest
reaching forms of media we have. If you think about it, every time we log on
to social media or the internet or every time we watch a movie or our favourite television
show, or walk in to a shop, we are bound to see advertisements and billboards. They’re literally everywhere we go. And they are definitely designed to impact
the way we perceive the society and world around us. So they go a long way in creating our understanding
of our community and who is in it. Now, 1 in 5 people will expirience some kind
of disability in their lifetime, yet our advertising is nowhere near representative of that. Like I said, it’s 2016 and only now are people
with disabilities being featured in nation wide advertising campaigns. By showing people of different abilities in
advertising, it would have a huge impact on normalising disability. If we saw wheelchair users selling car insurance
or amputees selling shoes or someone with a vision impairment selling loans, it would
show people that disability is normal and we partake in the same kinda activities as
anyone else. And it will also show people that you can’t
put disability in a box. Like I said we are the largest minority in
the world and we are all individuals, so we are bound to have different passions, different
career pathways and you know be unique like everyone else. We need to get to a point where it’s standard
to include people with disabilities in advertising. Where, ok 1 in 5 people have a disability,
we are going to aim to advertise based on that ratio. We need to get to a point where it doesn’t
make news around the world, that I am in an active wear catalogue, because in doing this,
like I said, we will normalising disability and that will make it a lot easier for us
to have conversations around disability and strive for all those other things we need
as a community. A lot of people talk about creating a world
where we see past disability but I don’t believe that that should be the case. I’m disabled and that’s the way it’s always
going to be. And disability is a big part of who I am,
a lot of the experiences that I’ve had because of my disability have really shaped the person
that I am today. So I don’t want people to see past my wheelchair
or past my disability. I just want people to accept that I have a
disability and accept the others out there who have disabilities. I want them to realise that disabled people
are out there in large numbers. Now, if it’s really enforced in advertising
that there are heaps of disabled people out there, then, you know, the world is going
to have to considering that that is a market and something that they need to try and access. If, you know, a company prides it’s self on
being diverse and including people of different body shapes and size, of different races,um
you know and different looks, then it really needs to include disability into that mix. Because you really can’t be diverse without
including the biggest minority in the world. And I am so happy that we are finally travelling
along that path and hopefully it won’t be too long in the future, like I said, before
disability representation is standard. I want it to come to a point where it’s mundane,
where we expect to see it and we are not shocked when we do, because young people with disabilities
deserve to see that there are others like them pursuing careers in the media and just
being seen. Can you imagine if kids had already seen a
whole bunch of disabled people in advertising before they meet the first kid at their school
with a disability. I think it would change that interaction a
whole lot. So yeah guys, let me know your thoughts on
this issue and, ehh, leave them in the comments down below. But most importantly guys, remember to stay
shiny, cause I love ya!

2 thoughts on “Why Disability Representation in Advertising is Important – I’m in a Target Catalogue

  1. I think it's great! Growing up most of the time I was the only person at my school or wherever who had a visible disability. I always would get excited when I saw disabled people in media, and then was disappointed when I found that the people portraying disability were hardly ever actually disabled, and the narrative they had in stories were always the same. It definitely didn't help that my family was (and still is) about making me as 'normal' as possible, which I can never live up to. I'm not completely able bodied which dives my family crazy (they're currently insisting that I could drive a normal car if I took the time to strengthen my right leg) but because of all the surgeries and therapy, I get around fairly well unassisted. (I have CP as well) it's kind of weird being in this middle space, especially since the representations of disability are so limited. I hope that the media will continue to include actual disability, and also include more forms of disability

  2. I love this! I did a talk only this week about how children at school tend to only see the disability and not the person behind it, and how children need to be shown disability in a way that not only shows the practical side (eg a young blind woman uses a guide dog to get around) but also that they do the same things and lead similar lives to plenty of others (eg the young blind woman uses her guide dog to guide her to university). Advertising can have the same impact, showing the practical side of the disability but also showing them doing things everyone else does, as in the examples you gave. Never really thought about advertising having this impact too but it would be very powerful, and would put disability in the sub conscious (in a good way), as something that's just part of society, rather than something people often don't know how to respond to. Great video, i love your ideas around disability, they're very similar to mine!

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