The media is a good way of viewing personalities. The way actors and real life celebrities are represented people start believing they are them or want to be like them. Through the media including movies, dramas and cartoons we see different characters, the villain, the hero and the princess. Often these roles are also in real life but there are many different kinds of people, and through the media we forget the many different kinds of people.
Disability’ is something very common today there are hundred’s and thousands of disabilities that people have and live with in their day-to-day life. The media or perhaps the directors and writers of the plays and films we see show that disability is a sign of witchcraft, examples such as The Hunchback and Elephant Man show that society did not accept them at first because of their disability, and we as the audience can feel this whilst watching the film and slowly see our emotions develop as the film goes on to see past the person’s disability.
Disability was seen as a sign you sinned or done something wrong, therefore it was wrong to speak to that person or treat them as human. The stereotype of disabled people was to an extreme, apart from the usual, that a disabled had sinned, or it was seen as a sign of witchcraft and a disability was seen as a form of evil. I will discuss two major films, Elephant Man and Shrek to consider all the different stereotypes of disabilities. Elephant man proves this statement by creating a tension for the audience.
The Freak show that is presented in this film involves many disabilities including the Elephant Man, and the audience is manipulated to think there in the audience of the actual Freak show. They want to the Elephant man, all this fuss that is created about him, people, women and men screaming and crying in disgust as they leave after seeing him. But cleverly he is not shown until the enigma of the film and the director inverts that representation. When the Elephant man is shown the representation is natural, he is not a monster but a person.
The first look is ghastly but as the film continues he seems a kind, gentle and intelligent human being, which is the opposite to the initial reaction of one who sees the film. This is a challenge stereotype where the man who gets paid by people to show them the ‘freak’ seems more like the ugly freak than the Elephant Man himself. I assume David Lynch the director made this film to illustrate the saying “a monster on the outside is beautiful in the inside”, and that the Elephant Man may have looked like a monster but actually was not.
David Lynch also said, “I like human conditions that are distorted, so the in distorted stand out”. From the community of freaks, where the rare disease like the Elephant Man’s took place and was exploited, there are other traditional ways of the media which exploit the disability fact yet are sending messages to even the younger generation. The film Shrek was made for younger children and the elder generation also enjoyed it a lot too.
This film was made in the conventional fairy tale aspect using a Disney form and was animation based. Seems different and child like yet had a very important moral to put forward. The frightening appearance of the unpleasant, ugly ogre was at first hated by everyone, the audience see him as the ‘evil guy’ and could not think the hero was that ‘ugly’ and deformed looking. Yet the fairytale narrative gets to work and disability, which is looked at negatively, is put to challenge in this film.
Like the Witch in ‘Snow White’, who has a hunchback, like The Hunchback himself in the Disney animation, and like the Beast in ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Beauty is considered as goodness and the Beast is an ugly ogre who doesn’t have feelings, emotions and a heart? This philosophy has changed in Shrek, and in a comic and interesting way the Hero is Shrek and Fiona the princess chooses to stay a monster and not the pretty girl. The castle in which Princess Fiona is trapped inside of has been made to look like the trademark Disney Castle.
A fire-breathing dragon guards the castle, and the whole situation is similar to that of Sleeping Beauty. The central idea of ‘beauty is goodness’ is challenged in Shrek, in physical and ethical attributes. Therefore the traditional ways represented to us through the media of people and the general world is sometimes how we start acting and thinking in reality, but there are many downfalls to that as everybody no matter what state of mind they have or disability are all equal.