Disability, Obesity and Ageing: Popular Media by Debbie Rodan

By Debbie Rodan

Incapacity, weight problems and growing older bargains an attractive account of a brand new region of urgent hindrance, analysing the way ’spurned’ identities are depicted and reacted to in televisual genres and on-line boards. analyzing the symbolic strength of the media, this booklet provides case experiences from drama, scenario comedies, truth and documentary tv programmes well known within the united kingdom, united states and Australia to make clear the illustration of incapacity, weight problems and ageing, and the style during which their prestige as undesirable and unwelcome identities is perpetuated. A theoretically subtle exploration of tv as a translator of identification, and the exploration of id different types in allied digital areas, this e-book may be of curiosity to sociologists, in addition to students of pop culture, and cultural and media stories.

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Extra resources for Disability, Obesity and Ageing: Popular Media Identifications (Cultural Politics of Media and Popular Culture)

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As we discussed in the previous chapter, disability, obesity and ageing carry a legacy of adverse cultural associations, and as a consequence audiences often disidentify with these topics and representations. Just as blogger Sarah Arboleda (2010) comments in the quote at the head of this chapter, theorists such as Richardson (2010) find that representations of fat characters on television tend to ascribe to stereotypes. Similarly, the observation that people with disability are constructed as either inspirational or tragic (Ellis & Goggin, 2014) is often noted by disability bloggers critically assessing the media (Haller, 2010).

43). The same was true for women. Middle-class women’s increased wealth enabled them to travel and pursue leisure activities but, because they overindulged in eating and drinking, many became portly (Farrell, 2011, p. 52). The stout women were seen to lack the discipline needed to control their 26 Tacit Knowledge weight – that is, they lacked the class of aristocratic women who maintained a svelte body into middle and older age. Invoked here is the idea that the civilized body is thin, an idea that persists in twenty-first century television media.

People with disability were also a key feature of the human curiosity shows which preceded the freak show as a form of entertainment during the 1700s. In this genre, bodies were constructed as spectacles and ‘displayed in the context of popular entertainment’ (Smith, 2005, p. 79). For Bogdan, people with disability were stylized and presented in a certain social context to appear as freaks – the discourse of the entertaining freak show thus constructed them as not normal and subjected these bodies to a particular gaze.

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