September 17, 2012

Paradox of Agent/cy

The Barton article helped me to see an instance of the paradox of agent/cy, because it showed an example of an ad campaign that on the surface seems to give agency to a group, but in reality is taking agency away from them. By upholding those with disabilities as Others and lumping them all together, the campaign took agency away from the disabled. I noticed in the ads shown, among all the other things pointed out about them in the article, that it was never the disabled person/s that was given something to say. The slogan 'Give Once for All' was very telling concerning about how the charity was viewed largely as a practical business solution, and about attitudes towards disability and charity. The subtext of 'Give Once for All' means 'Give us a large sum of money once a year and you won't have to do anything about disability or the disabled until we come around next year.'

So, what Barton goes on to explain is that this attitude takes agency away from the disabled by presenting them as a single group that aren't 'normal' Americans. I think the points about 'supercrips' showed instances of the conditions necessary for United Way to give a disabled person agency. It represents them as a single, unique person, but in order to be seen that they had to overachieve, do something incredible. So, it sets up the thinking that anyone who isn't doing something amazing isn't worth seeing as an individual. It sets a standard that a disabled person must do something nearly impossible to have their story told.

1 comment:

MeganW said...

I agree with your idea that the United Way is the one with the agency because of these ads but would it be more appropriate to say that they are the ones taking the power away from the disabled and keeping it for themselves instead of agency? Through the ad campaign using all the little children to prove a point it seems as if the United Way is belittling those that are disabled and that they are the ones classifying the disabled as "others." In regards to how you pointed out the underlying meaning of their quotes I agree one hundred percent on how they think as long as you give money to keep our business going you are helping those that are in need, which in turn is just another way that they are saying please help those that are not as well off as you are. As far as the supercrip aspect of Barton's essay goes and the way you have pointed it out I agree with this statement too. Like how FDR was considered a supercrip and not part of the "others" only because he was the president. Funny thing is though up until his later years him and his team in the white house tried as hard as they could to not let anyone know that he could not walk on his own, even going as far as to having his children play in front of the presidents desk while taking pictures so as to block out the wheel chair. So with this I think it is interesting how he still tries to retain all the power by trying his best to hide the fact that he was in a wheelchair.

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.