Disability Tropes 101: Overcoming
Crafting characters / Disability Tropes 101 / Represention

Disability Tropes 101: Overcoming

One of the most problematic tropes that is projected onto disabled people and our narratives is the trope of Overcoming. In these narratives, disabled people are able to “overcome” their disability (that is, become able-bodied) by working hard and pushing boundaries. Disability activist Eli Clare observes: “Overcoming bombards disabled people. It’s everywhere. I think of … Continue reading

Disability Tropes 101: The Outsider
Crafting characters / Disability Tropes 101 / Represention

Disability Tropes 101: The Outsider

Scholar Isabel Brittain brings attention to the trope of “The Outsider” in her article on “An Examination into the Portrayal of Deaf Characters and Deaf Issues in Picture Books for Children” (Disability Studies Quarterly 2004, Vol 24, No 1). In this trope, “the character with an impairment is portrayed as a figure of alienation and … Continue reading

Disability Tropes 101: Karmically Disabled
Crafting characters / Disability Tropes 101

Disability Tropes 101: Karmically Disabled

I recently finished watching Season 2 of Dirk Gently and have been reflecting on the huge number of problematic disability tropes in the show, particularly around the invented disability “Pararibulitis,” but for this post, I want to focus on one particular trope that frequently appears in representations of disability, what I call the Karmically Disabled Trope. In … Continue reading

Disability Tropes 101: “The Genius Cripple”
Crafting characters / Disability Tropes 101 / Represention

Disability Tropes 101: “The Genius Cripple”

The Genius Cripple trope is pronounced in representations of disability in popular media and is generally grounded in the idea of a mind-body dichotomy. The notion of the mind-body dichotomy assumes that the mind and body are distinct from one another. This dichotomy is traced back to the philosopher Descartes, who suggested a distinction between … Continue reading

Disability Tropes 101: “The Crippled Sidekick”
Crafting characters / Disability Tropes 101 / Represention

Disability Tropes 101: “The Crippled Sidekick”

Throughout this series, I hope to bring to light some of the tropes around disability in order to (1) improve the representation of disabled people and (2) provide writing tips for those of you who want to include disabled people in your stories. Today’s lesson is about The Crippled Sidekick. This is a common trope of disability, … Continue reading