RIO 2016 PARALYMPICS
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games are a great opportunity to start reporting on a more inclusive way. Check out the tips we collected to make your stories more meaningful.
The Paralympic has created this "Guide to reporting on persons with an impairment".
Here you can find other guidelines:
"No Notion"Award to Vogue Brazil campaign for the Paralympic Games
GADIM Brazil has just been launched to guide media professionals on how to talk about disability in a constructive way and based on human rights.
We knew that the Paralympic Games in Rio 2016 would bring challenges in representation of disability in the mass media but we did not expect to see first up an example that misfired in such a blatant way: Vogue Brazil’s new campaign, produced by the Africa Agency, #WeAreAllParalympians showing images of able-bodied Brazillian actors Cleo Pires and Paul Vilhena photoshopped to appear to be amputees.
Vogue Brazil’s campaign inspired GADIM Brazil to launch the “No Notion” award and bestow on the team involved.
So what’s the problem with the Vogue campaign?
1 – It appropriates the role that should have been played by real paralympic athletes by using able-bodied actors instead to represent people with disabilities. This devalues people with disabilities by not considering them worthy of representing themselves and reflects “ableism”. “Ableism” is to disability what “sexism” is to gender and “racism” is to race – it is fundamentally the prejudice experienced by disabled people. Were the creators of the campaign unaware of the movement for people with disabilities to be represented by actors with disabilities? One of the defining mottos of the disability rights movement is "Nothing about us without us". Put simply, anyone willing to be an ambassador for the Paralympic Games should have known better what matters to people with disabilities. In reality, this is not different to “blackface” – remember when while actors would paint their faces to represent black people? We called it racism – and now we call this ableism.
2 - It assumes that anything goes as long as it results in more visibility of people with disabilities. Just because celebrities are willing to associate with a hashtag campaign - #WeAreAllParalympians – doesn’t mean that the message that is being promoted is a sound one.
3 - It uses the word “parathletes”, instead of Paralympic athletes. Paralympic athletes are athletes in every sense. They are not parathletes or semi athletes.
4 - The Vogue campaign’s art director, Clayton Carneiro, declared, “Participating in the campaign was an honor for me. The atmosphere in the studio was full of happiness and pride. Paulinho Vilhena and Cleo Pires made a beautiful speech before we started shooting that moved everyone involved. And for those who do not know, the whole idea of the campaign came from the Paralympics Ambassador, Cleo Pires. We knew it would be confronting, but we were there for a good cause, because after all, hardly anyone bought tickets to see the Paralympic Games”.
Let's see: - the atmosphere in the studio was full of happiness and pride (what else would be expected – perhaps sadness because it concerns people with disability? And who wouldn’t feel pride in being part of a charitable initiative for these poor people).
- Paulinho Vilhena and Cleo Pires made a beautiful speech that touched everyone (because when it comes to disability, it is always about the disabled people who need our help and the non-disabled people who are so generous in supporting their cause).
- Hardly anyone bought tickets to see the games (no doubt the image of two amputees actors will digitally make the audience feel the urge to rush to the box office!). These statements may seem provocative but they are intended to show the ways in which people with disability often feel patronized by well-meaning but nevertheless misguided initiatives that do not include or consult with them about what their perspective, how they wish to be represented and what really matters to them.
5 - Have you heard of “inspiration pornography? It is an expression coined by the late disabled activist Stella Young to express the way that media can objectify disabled people for the benefit of a non-disabled audience:
The actress Cleo Pires decided to make a video to explain the campaign for those who did not understand:
Sorry, there is no explanation, Cleo. Visibility is very welcome to promote accessibility, inclusion and reduce prejudice, but not all visibility produces these outcomes. "Good intentions" can harm more than help.
We sincerely hope that the campaign is suspended and that an apology is issued to people with disabilities.
Do not forget to read our Guide to Media with tips to talk about disability and, next time, talk to GADIM - we will be happy to help.
Olympic and Paralympic Studies
Olympic and Paralympic Studies is a FreeBook brought to you by Routledge, containing a collection of curated content from some of our top titles and leading experts.
01:: Breaking New Ground: Rio 2016
(Chapter 1 taken from Understanding the Olympics, 2/e)
02:: The History and Development of the Paralympic Games
(Chapter 1 taken from TheParalympicGamesExplained,2/e)
03:: Researching and Writing about the London Games: An Introduction
(Chapter 1 take from taken from Handbook of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Volume 2)
04:: Home Advantage
(Chapter 14 taken from Success and Failure of Countries at the Olympic Games)
05:: These Games are Not for You: Olympic promises, Olympic legacies and marginalized youth in Olympic Cities
(Conclusion chapter taken from Olympic Exclusions)
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