Why I Believe In Positive Discrimination

Today the charity Scope tweeted out some statistics that even I was surprised about: “1 in 5 of us in the UK is disabled”. Two days ago I was on the tube and got stopped by eight individual people telling me how great I was at presenting the weather on television. I didn’t present the weather, I’m not a weather presenter but Lucy Martin is on television and has one hand -as do I, so of course, we must be the same person? God forbid there were multiple people in the world with a disability.

disabled blogger Grace mandeville, disabled presenter, one hand, and other stories, cherry shirt,I don’t blame the public, I blame the media, the fashion industry, Hollywood, advertising, anyone and everyone who has the power to decide who we see on billboards, in magazines, and on our screens. I mean you literally can’t blame the commuters assuming I must be Lucy Martin, because it’s so rare to see someone disabled on television that we’re brainwashed into thinking that being disabled is a rare thing. But as Scope says, 1 in 5 of us in the UK is disabled, that’s 14 million people. 14 million people that are being represented that morning by one girl on TV – now that’s a ridiculous statistic, there needs to be more.

This is why I believe in positive discrimination.

disabled blogger Grace mandeville, disabled presenter, one hand, and other stories, cherry shirt,

To make a natural change to such a huge industry we have to force it first, once it’s forced others will start to follow and eventually (hopefully) it will become the norm. I’m not just referring to disabled with this, this relates to women in STEM, Plus Size models (Men too please), people of color, sexualities, genders, differences in every shape and form, representing the world in front of the world. So yes, it feels awful sometimes being chosen to be in lets say, an advert to only to fulfill a diverse criteria, not necessarily because of my talent, but I don’t mind because I know that I’m creating a path that never used to exist, within a very narrow-minded industry and I’m determined for this path to become the norm in years to come.

I always state that I just want to be treated normally (not like a girl who has a disability), and so to some, the statement of myself believing in positive discrimination is incredibly ironic. But hopefully this post has cleared it up for you, and I’d love to know your thoughts on this matter.

-G,x

Outfit
Shirt- & Other Stories // Glasses – American Apparel // Shorts – Levi’s  // Bag – Cambridge Satchel Company

Photos by Henry Mandeville

Cherry Shirt 2

6 thoughts on “Why I Believe In Positive Discrimination

  1. I completely agree with you, positive discrimination has the potential to change stereotypes and allow underrepresented people feel like they are a part of society. I understand that it can be frustrating to find opportunities that are only available to particular minorities (although welcome to the world of non white-middle-class-able-bodied-cis-gendered people right?) as I remember was the case when I was searching for internships a few years back but I fundamentally believe that some opportunities must be bookmarked for those who might not otherwise have considered that field due to poor representation. On the other hand, I think it probably wouldn’t work the way you and I would like it to if other people have this “token minority” mentality whereby they wouldn’t take those people seriously. If people start assuming that those people and groups are only there because they’ve been ushered in on a free ticket then it could further harm the group image and fuel prejudice xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life Travel Italy

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    1. Ok, I think you should’ve written this post instead of me, beautifully said and I completely agree with the problems that could and do definitely arise. I beleive we’ve got to take the risk otherwise there will be no sign of change. -G,x

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  2. I definitely agree with this. I think it’s really important that we all work hard to change the amount of disabled people we see in the media – I mean, it’d be amazing to get to a point where we can all just see them as normal people, but for now I believe it is really important to make a point of including everyone and giving these people who just happen to be disabled as much exposure as we can.

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    1. I agree Clara, it’ll definitely be a while until we get to the point where we see people with differences everywhere like we do “normal people”, which is why for now I encourage positive discrimination to an extent :). Thanks for reading! -G,x

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  3. I personally have not seen the weather report that the commuters were talking about but when I think about the last person I saw with one hand apart from yourself, I cannot think of one person. It makes me think about the film soul surfer where an able-bodied person plays a surfer with one arm and I feel like that part could have easily been played by an actress with one arm (such as yourself.) I think positive discrimination has to exist in order to open up opportunities for disabled actresses, but hopefully over time it will become second nature to have diversity among media.

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