Face of a teenage white girl w/long brown hair, eyes wide, mouth open with headphones made of clouds and a rainbow
Face of a teenage white girl w/long brown hair, eyes wide, mouth open with headphones made of clouds and a rainbow

Sia dropped the official trailer for her upcoming movie, Music today about an autistic teen. While the film has gotten praise from her tons of fans and accolades from media outlets, many people are rightfully angered.

The premise of the movie is that Music (Maddie Ziegler) is an Autistic teen who goes to live with her half-sister, Zu (Kate Hudson). Music is non-verbal and the two embark on a journey together as they work to connect.

Ziegler is not disabled — this init of itself is a problem with the movie. Below are some thoughts from #ActuallyAutistic folks who largely are uncomfortable with Ziegler’s portrayal of Autism. Nearly 85% of Autistic adults are unemployed or underemployed, so it’s frustrating to see yet another film portray a disabled person yet not have any disabled people in the movie. …


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As the projected winner for North Carolina’s 11th district was announced last night, my stomach wrenched. Madison Cawthorn, a 25-year-old male from North Carolina without any work history, education, or qualifications won his race over Moe Davis, and will now be the youngest person to ever serve in congress.

Cawthorn had one obvious advantage over his competitor — he was a pretty disabled boy with a great smile who’s “overcome” so much by being in a wheelchair. And isn’t that wonderful?

You may think this line is unfair but hear me out. I’m a paraplegic female who’s fought her entire adulthood against the view of what disability is expected to be. I, like Cawthorn, am disabled due to a car accident. I connect with other disability activists every day about how we’re treated by society and media — how the disabled community is portrayed and how to fight against stereotypes. We almost all feel the same way about Cawthorn’s position as the new Republican darling — fearful and disgusted. …


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bottom line: if it’s not accessible, it’s not inclusive

The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) graciously invited myself and some brilliant minds like Beth Haller and Elaine Kubik to take part in a Twitter chat on disability inclusion in communications and media.

The conversation was compelling and provided insight to students about how pros communications professionals can be more inclusive, resources they can use, and things to remember.

It took place during a busy week for many, so I wanted to share some tips and links from the #PRSSAForAll Twitter chat. …


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Until approximately three minutes ago, I was having a relaxing evening after a rough day.

I had a bowl of vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips, watched some YouTube and was in the midst of organizing my makeup to calm my over-active mind. I thought, “I should check Twitter”…I regret this decision very much.

When I signed on, I immediately saw this bullsh*t:


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Adweek held its Disability Inclusion Summit yesterday and it was fantastic. The panel, comprised of industry rockstars with various disabilities and perspectives, came armed with vital insights for the industry.

Far beyond the advertising world, AdWeek’s summit dove into systemic issues in the workplace across industries and how the media industry wholly impacts how society treats disabled people.

1. It all comes down to hiring disabled people

It’s fitting that Adweek held this summit a day ahead of Disability Employment Month — people with disabilities are twice as likely to be unemployed and often face discrimination in the hiring process.

The panel was lead by a personal hero of mine, Becky Curan Kekula, who shared that she sent out 1,000 resumes and went on over 100 job interviews before getting her first job in marketing. …


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For those hoping this is an essay about how mainstream media is the “enemy of the people” — you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

This is about a new mentoring program and community of professionals that will help disabled people become integral members of the media. Because it’s time for a change — it’s time disabled people are given a seat at every table in the media industry.

Disable the Media has the goal of doing just that.

Media has the incredible power to influence our vision of the world around us, for better or worse. A simple local news story can transform the view of our community. An article on BuzzFeed can awaken a new passion for social justice or be a glimpse into a culture we could never understand. …


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his grandstanding was not an inspiration — it was an insult to the disabled movement

If you tuned into the full Republican National Convention (RNC) last night and saw Madison Cawthorn speak, you also saw him end his speech by standing from his wheelchair. He stood, as he said, for the flag.

If you didn’t see it live, you most certainly read about it this morning. News outlets from liberal to conservative lead with inspirational headlines that this paralyzed man (miraculously) stood up.


Promotional photo for Netflix’s Crip Camp — a person in a wheelchair with long hair, smiling
Promotional photo for Netflix’s Crip Camp — a person in a wheelchair with long hair, smiling

The streaming platform is the only entertainment company to regularly include people with disabilities

This is a shortened version of an article I originally posted on LinkedIn.

The 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was less than a month ago. One of the most important milestones in the disability community, it was celebrated by politicians, activists, and millions of people across the country. However, it was a day lost on almost every single major entertainment company.

And while Hulu, HBO, NBC, MGM, The Television Academy, and others were all dark on disability, Netflix shined brightly alone.

Background

I was paralyzed in a car accident exactly 5 months after the ADA became law and using a wheelchair changed my self-esteem. …


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Happy National French Fry Day!

I hate to brag, but I like to think of myself as a french fry expert. I’ve scoured the land, mainly Manhattan looking for the perfect fries. You don’t want them too soft or too hard. If they’re too thick, they usually aren’t cooked evenly the whole way through. And if they’re too thin, they’re usually disappointing and too salty.

There’s also the dipping sauce. Are you a purist? Do you want your fries with just a little bit of salt? Or are you bougie and prefer your fries with fresh shaved truffles, rosemary and bit of oil? Maybe you’re a person who insists on having a savory/sweet mix, and dips your fries in honey or a milkshake. …


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I opened up CNN today and this is what I saw as one of the top headlines:

About

Kristen Parisi

Award-Winning Writer, Disability Specialist & Media Expert. I write about entertainment, politics, travel and some oversharing. KristenParisi.net

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