St. John Fisher College

Locating Disability in the Body Positive Campaigns: Advertising & In/Exclusion

This paper explores a three stage history of the advertising industry’s movement from near total exclusion of people with disabilities in advertising imagery to very limited inclusion to more progressive campaigns. I argue that the advertising industry helps to construct the symbolic meaning attached to disabled identity and as such, it plays a central role in raising public awareness about disabled people. Campaigns like Pro Infirmis’ “Because Who is Perfect? Get Closer” challenge normative constructions of beauty as able-bodied and have the potential to broaden cultural understandings of embodied beauty and diversity.

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