2022 Student Research Conference:
35th Annual Student Research Conference

Heroes, Villains, and Sidekicks: The Misrepresentation of Disability in Children's Films


Haley R. Schnurbusch
Dr. Anton Daughters and Dr. Brian Ott, Faculty Mentors

Media influences our perceptions of the world. Discourse arises when marginalized groups feel misrepresented on screen. The disability community faces discrimination as a result of inaccurate portrayals of their life experiences. Previous research has identified several stereotypes of disabled characters in film and television. Children’s movies attempt to educate young audiences about mental and physical disabilities but often miss the mark despite their simple imagery and explicit meaning. This analysis looks at several disabled characters in children’s movies to discern how the characters have been victimized, shunned, or otherwise misrepresented and how that misrepresentation harms disabled people.

Keywords: disability, stereotypes of disability, film analysis, children's films

Topic(s):Sociology
Disability Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Session: 203-2
Location: SUB GEO B
Time: 10:30

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