Disabilities Disney+ Needs To Showcase
Throughout 2021 and 2022 I’ve written several articles about Disney+ and disabilities, but now I want to take a look at several disabilities that I feel need more light shined on them and why Disney+ could be the perfect home for Disney to tell stories about what is, in my opinion, the most forgotten minority group, the disabled.
Disney Needs A Princess With Down Syndrome:
Let’s start with something I feel is an overlooked condition, Down Syndrome. For those that don’t know, Down Syndrome is when you’re born with an extra chromosome. Down Syndrome is a lifelong disability, and similar to Autism, it affects each person differently. So why is the title of this article “Disney Needs A Princess With Down Syndrome”? Well, we have seen Disney Princesses of all different races, but we haven’t had one for children with disabilities. I feel that Disney+ could be the home for a new film or television series starring an actor with Down Syndrome about that character being a Disney Princess. Imagine how many people would feel accepted by such a series. On average, six thousand babies are born with Down Syndrome in the United States alone and they need content they connect with.
Type One Diabetes Is Ignored In Favour Of Mocking Fat People:
Now let’s look at one more personal to me, Type One Diabetes. Type One Diabetes is a lifelong disability where your body can not produce enough insulin to keep your blood sugar level. Type One Diabetes is not connected to age or being overweight (that’s Type Two Diabetes). Whenever Diabetes is brought up in any of Disney’s general entertainment series like “Family Guy” they use it as a word to replace the term “overweight” instead of telling a story aimed at those who have to live with Type One Diabetes for the rest of their lives.
Cerebral Palsy Is An Ignored Disability:
Cerebral Palsy is the name for a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement and coordination. Cerebral Palsy is a disability that most entertainment companies, including significant names like Disney and Netflix, have largely ignored. People with Cerebral Palsy need films and television series starring actors with Cerebral Palsy about their disability and stories they can connect with.
Epilepsy Is A Disability We Don’t Talk About:
Epilepsy is a common disability that affects the brain and causes seizures. One notable Epilepsy trigger is flashing lights which would be hard to integrate into a TV series or a film without causing seizures for epileptic viewers. Another notable trigger is lack of sleep which would be an easier cause to utilize in a series. Epilepsy is a disability that is basically non-existent in most forms of entertainment, and Disney could lead the charge to make people with Epilepsy feel seen.
Blindness Is A “Tricky” Disability To Represent:
Let’s look at a disability that affects many people and is mostly forgotten in entertainment because it affects people who have problems with their sight. Blindness affects around two million people in the UK alone, and there is an easy storyline that could be utilized to celebrate those who are blind. That storyline is about a blind person, and a regular sighted person falling in love and the difficulties the blind person has but also how they overcome such a disability.
Autism Still Isn’t Represented Properly:
Okay, this one is an awkward inclusion due to the fact Disney made the short film “Loop”, but let me explain. Autism is a lifelong neurological disability that affects how the person with autism thinks, feels, and interacts with other people as well as the world around them. Now I know Disney did make a short film following a non-verbal autistic girl (Loop), but I feel like this subject matter has so much more room to be explored and covered. Autism has a rocky history within film and TV, with content like Sia’s “Music” and Netflix’s “Atypical” casting non-autistic actors to play autistic characters.
Now there are thousands of other disabilities that I haven’t mentioned in this article, but I figured I’d focus on the ones that I feel need representation more than ever. With companies like Apple churning out titles not only about disabilities but also starring actors with those disabilities, it makes me wonder why Disney, the world’s most powerful entertainment company, hasn’t done more for people with disabilities. Disney is working on some titles focusing on people with disabilities, like the upcoming MCU series “Echo”, but in my opinion, Disney needs to do more for those with disabilities.
Note: Descriptions of all disabilities mention in this article come from the official UK NHS website. I also have two of the disabilities mentioned, so my thoughts are a little biased.