Week Two

Deaf Representation in Media

When was the last time you saw a deaf person in the media? Go on, I’ll let you think. More than a month ago? Longer? With media being widely distributed between the masses and considering “nearly 20 percent of Americans live with some sort of hearing loss,” Lydia Callis told HuffPost, you would think that there would be a larger portion dedicated to representing this community and human experience.

Well-known deaf people include: Helen Keller, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, and Marlee Matlin, from left to right.

In growing up, children consume all sorts of media. From television to books to movies, children seek to see themselves represented. Growing up, did you ever want to become like someone you saw on the media? Did you ever see someone in the media like you who made you feel better about who you are? I would guess you answered yes to at least one of those questions, if not both. Now imagine growing up seeing little to no one like you in books, television, or movies. For the d/Deaf* and hard of hearing community, this is their reality.

The representation of the Deaf Community is important to me because this is where I see myself currently and in the future as an advocate. I want to make sure that every child growing up has a role model that inspires them and they can connect to.

*d/Deaf is about self-classification and expression. When using “d”eaf, this is typically a dissociated, whereas “D”eaf is more of a community. (Source)