Steve Brooks talk


Steve Brooks MBE came to the university for the day to give a talk about displaying disabilities in media, the pro’s and con’s

Disabilities are made into social problems as well as physical problems, but we are all disabled to some extent, our eyesight, reading or mentality can limit us in society but society shouldn’t limit the possibilities of an individual

Its society that chooses to label people as disabled through building things that aren’t accessible for everyone and choosing to label someones physique negatively. People are not disabled, society disables.

Through media the absence of disabled people suggests that they don’t matter, but when they do appear their disability defines them. Steve Brooks argued that adverts shouldn’t draw attention to peoples disabilities, they should show everyone equality so that society is forced to be more accommodating and not limit people. Some adverts don’t let someones disability define them, like the m&s advert

And the nike advert

But some adverts draw attention to the disability and provokes a response from the viewer that would limit the disabled in society. Brooks didn’t like any advert that included negative connotations to being disabled, but then how would an advert for a disabled charity get money? I do agree that the disabled should not seem unhappy or any different than anyone else, because then a stereotype is born that everyone with the same disability is different to those without a disability. But then, why would someone invest if the person they were paying to help was already happy, and this was the original point made, that society has disabled the disabled, but is it a problem that can be fixed by advertisements. Its a controversial topic that has to be addressed carefully, and the public will respond negatively if certain changes are made to adverts. Brooks was right in saying that some adverts draw the wrong connotations, and society has to be guided to a less limiting view on the disabled.

steve brooks

Having had bad eye sight all my life I’ve had to wear glasses with thick lenses that make me look different to everyone else. If I don’t wear these glasses my lazy eye becomes more visible, making me look even more different to everyone else. Having the opportunity to wear contact lenses has given me the opportunity not wear thick glasses or make my lazy eye seem obvious. After wearing them for half a year no one has noticed I’m even wearing the lenses and I don’t feel as if I any different to anyone else now. Contact lenses have changed my life and I can’t see my life without them. I wanted this advert to reflect that; to show me wearing the lenses and looking happy so I’m showing the ‘disability’ but not making it obvious. Personally this advert is such a homage to contact lenses because of how they’ve changed my life, and I hope others will be able to share in my experiences and not buy out of sympathy but out of admiration for the product.


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