Exploiting Or Celebrating?

I really enjoy watching shows like Beauty and the Beast, and at the moment The Undateables, but every time I sit down to watch it I have this massive feeling of guilt. I think that, although the people taking part have obviously agreed to be on the show, it’s sort of exploiting them in a way? I think that there’s a fine line between celebrating people’s differences and sharing the challenges in people’s lives, and making fun.

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Before I go into my opinions on this I think I should just clear up that I do watch these programmes, and I do enjoy them. I’m not saying they’re necessarily good or bad. I just know that I do get a sense of guilt when I watch them. The main problem I think I have with the programmes, I’m going to focus just on the Undateables as that’s the programme I’ve seen the most, and the one that I’m watching at the moment.

The main thing that urks me (that’s an expression I’ve never used before but we’ll go with it) is the title. ‘The Undateables’ implies strongly that these people we see with disabilities are undateable well I guess it doesn’t just imply it, it outright says it. It just seems like a very narrow minded and hurtful view which definitely enforces negative stereotypes. The title is obviously designed to draw in viewers, and I understand that an intriguing title is needed, but it doesn’t make me feel any less like the programme is designed more for the viewer to laugh at than to be inspired by.

I think there are positives to the whole thing though. The programme definitely does make people more aware of people with disabilities and what their lives entail, even if it is just a small snapshot into their life. I’m just a bit conflicted over whether the programme overall helps or hinders.

Nicole x

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