Sunday, October 11, 2009


Nancy Mairs is the author of the brief, yet ingenious essay entitled “Disability.” The key reason I liked this essay so much is the emotion and honesty she displayed behind a person with a disability. She put her audience in the shoes of someone with Multiple Sclerosis and opened your eyes to the life of a disabled person. One of the main messages she was conveying through out the essay was that disabled people are completely normal. They do the same things as everyone else, think the same way, and act the same way; with one essential discrepancy; human beings strive to conform to society and do everything they can to do so, while handicapped people cannot even attempt to conform to society. The controversial argument she presents in this essay is why advertising companies do not feature handicapped people in their commercials. We read this essay in our AP Language and Composition class and came up with a couple of feasible answers for this question.

1.)A handicapped person would not want to be displayed in a commercial. They already stand out in a crowd and draw attention to themselves, so why would they put themselves in a commercial? All they want to do is be like everyone else, and by putting themselves in a commercial and having a lot of attention drawn to them, this is no achieved.

2.)Advertising companies fear that if their products are advertised as being used by handicapped people, people without disabilities will not purchase them in fear that they will become handicapped as well.

3.)Lastly, advertising companies are expected to appeal to the majority of society, and the majority of society is not handicapped. They use people without handicaps in their advertisements because the majority of society do not have disabilities.

All of these are very probable explanations, but it still does not justify that companies are morally correct by not using handicapped people in their advertisements. Like Mairs said, they are just like everyone else, and deserve to be treated the same way. It is ridiculous to think that if a handicapped model is using the advertised product, that you will get the handicap as well. I have an autistic brother, and most people define him by his disability. And although it is a big part of his life, it is not who he is. Advertising Companies need to understand that a disability does not define a person or the way you look does not define a person, but rather the things that person does with their life.

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