When was the last time you saw a disabled woman as the lead in rom-coms?
That’s the question I explore in my latest piece for The Week, where I explored things like love and disability and the “disabled people are asexual” stereotype. I love rom-coms, but the lack of representation is staggering. It’s TIME to have a disabled woman as the lead.
In fact, I’ve spent so much time lately reconciling my love of rom-coms with their lack of diversity, especially when it comes to disability representation. Maybe it’s the result of being older? Because I certainly never asked these types of questions when I was a teenager watching my favorite love stories play out on screen. I pictured myself as the main character as she falls in love with the dashing male lead.
Well, not anymore, friends. Granted, I still watch said movies, but I no longer see myself in the female leads. And that’s a huge problem.
Here’s an excerpt of the piece, in which I remind society, YET AGAIN, of all the things disabled people are and what they’re not. You’d think people would catch on by now, but…
Of course I want to see people like me on the screen, but I also want the able-bodied world to see people like me on the screen. Contrary to that age-old stereotype, disabled people aren’t asexual beings who live in solitude. I would love for the whole world to see that, yes, we deserve love — and our own rom-com plot lines — just like everyone else.
Our society has a long history of telling people with disabilities that we’re not pretty. I was reminded of that recently when I was told I was too ugly to post selfies — I clapped back with this viral tweet. I can’t help but think that featuring people with disabilities more in mainstream culture — in movies, certainly — would counteract those ignorant, hurtful beliefs.
You can read the full piece here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at email@example.com and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo