Review of The Fan Fiction Studies Reader, Eds. Hellekson, Karen., and Kristina Busse (2014)
Disability is often absent in both the content and the production levels of Western film and television media, and other popular cultural productions. They rarely include disability except as plot devices that invoke ableist tropes such as: tragedy, pity, or a temporary challenge for non-disabled characters to overcome, or as lessons for the main character to learn from, and many more. In the Ruderman white paper on Employment of Actors with Disabilities in Television, Woodburn and Kopic found that 95% of disabled characters in the top ten US television shows were played by non-disabled actors (2016). Yet, these marked absences of disability from popular media has not been reflected in the numerous fan creations produced by fan communities in tribute to their favourite fandom.
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