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BBC’s Leading Lady Parts failed to address the discrimination disabled actors constantly face

发布时间:2018-08-25 19:10:56作者:人大 来源:BBC 浏览次数:0 网友评论 0

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Leading Lady Parts, a new short comedy by the BBC, sees well known actors – like Felicity Jones, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey and Gemma Chan – auditioning for the role of a leading lady only to face derogatory comments from the casting directors and have the role go to a man – Tom Hiddleston.

The short, which drew inspiration from the Time’s Up movement, certainly ticked many boxes; highlighting issues facing women in the industry with the casting directors making sexist, ageist, racist and fatphobic requests.

Although the short exaggerated these requests at times for comedic value, as an actor and a female, I applauded what had been produced and honestly thought it was about time someone had the nerve to address the prejudices and, at times, blatant discrimination women face within the casting room.

However, my enthusiasm wavered as the short came to an end. I was left feeling pretty annoyed and altogether disappointed.

Once again disability wasn’t represented. They had overlooked prejudices disabled actors like myself have to face when going for auditions.

I sat and wondered why the disabled community hadn’t been included? Are we as a society still so awkward and uncomfortable around disability that we would rather exclude a minority group than risk insulting them or ‘putting a foot in it,’ so to speak?

Personally, I would have loved to have seen Catherine Tate’s casting director character ask an actor with a disability to be less disabled. Or perhaps Gemma Arterton’s character could have asked a wheelchair user to maybe lose the wheels when entering the audition room.

The problem may lie in the simple fact that there aren’t enough roles for disabled actors and scripts aren’t written with disability in mind.

Could it be that casting directors don’t come into contact with artists that happen to have a disability; is this why we were excluded from the short and the media in general? My guess is it’s in fact a combination of the two.

The challenges actors with disabilities face go beyond gender inequalities as highlighted in Leading Lady Parts.

I was once told by a casting director, ‘Well you wouldn’t want to be put up for a role of a mountain climber would you?’ The irony was earlier that day I’d seen a YouTube video of a guy who was a wheelchair user abseiling.

In my opinion the issue often seems to simply be that people make assumptions about what the disabled community can or cannot do instead of educating themselves on the truth. Ignorance really is bliss until it impacts the 13.9 million people living in the UK who have some form of disability – visible and invisible.

I would say that over 90% of the roles I am put up for specify wheelchair user. Surely I should be submitted for roles where my disability doesn’t even come into question? I could happily be cast as a mother, sister, teacher or lawyer, not just a woman in a wheelchair.

It’s not only attitudinal barriers actors with disabilities have to face, physical barriers are an all too familiar story.

I’ve often turned up to castings where the building has insufficient access – such as stairs or no accessible toilet. I often hear, ‘yes we are wheelchair friendly, we just have one small step at the main entrance!’

Just to clarify, if you are a wheelchair user one small step may as well be Mount Everest.

And then there’s the whole issue of no accessible loo. Castings can sometimes take hours and you rarely get to audition on your allocated slot.


Imagine going for a role that could potentially be your ‘big break’ and all you can think about is not wetting your knickers because you don’t have access to an accessible toilet.

It makes it really hard to concentrate on your performance, I can tell you!

It is time for the industry to recognise that they are grossly under representing the disabled community and they need to let go of any hangups they have surrounding disability.

We are the fastest growing minority and disabled actors still only make up 1.2% of those appearing on TV.

Why is it so important to include actors with disabilities? Research conducted by disability charity Scope showed that nearly two-thirds (61%) of people with disabilities believe seeing more disabled representation on TV increases awareness of disability among the British public and can help change perceptions of disability for the better.

According to The LA Times, Leading Lady Parts will go on to ‘address gender imbalance in the workplace, both within the film industry and in other various industries.’

If this is the case I urge those involved to reach out to the disabled community and include their stories in future projects as we certainly have much to share on the matter.

 


Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/13/bbcs-leading-lady-parts-failed-to-address-the-discrimination-disabled-actors-constantly-face-7831926/?ito=cbshare 

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