Ableism must be included in our analysis of oppression and in our conversations about violence, responses to violence and ending violence. Ableism cuts across all of our movements because ableism dictates how bodies should function against a mythical norm—an able-bodied standard of white supremacy, heterosexism, sexism, economic exploitation, moral/religious beliefs, age and ability. Ableism set the stage for queer and trans people to be institutionalized as mentally disabled; for communities of color to be understood as less capable, smart and intelligent, therefore “naturally” fit for slave labor; for women’s bodies to be used to produce children, when, where and how men needed them; for people with disabilities to be seen as “disposable” in a capitalist and exploitative culture because we are not seen as “productive;” for immigrants to be thought of as a “disease” that we must “cure” because it is “weakening” our country; for violence, cycles of poverty, lack of resources and war to be used as systematic tools to construct disability in communities and entire countries.
The fact that they removed Peeta’s amputation from the story AND removed both Greasy Sae’s granddaughter and the D10 Tribute’s clubfoot from the film gives Panem an unrealistic level of able-bodiedness (especially for a dystopian/third-world country) AND creates a narrative that actively asserts that people with physical disabilities are not suitable for mainstream viewing.
Their exclusion from the story is problematic from both a narrative standpoint — that Peeta is intentionally given a physical disability and Katniss given a psychological disorder, and they’re still both able to be romantically and sexually engaged AND retain full personal agency — and a “real-world” standpoint, in that it would have been (making a slight pun) revolutionary for them to include a love interest with a physical disability in Catching Fire and Mockingjay, given that the general culture of US media is that people with disabilities need either to be wholly tragic or wholly “inspirational meta stories,” but never just… people.
…why? I’m thinking they didn’t do it out of disrespect to the source but because they are filming at least 3 more movies and it’s more convinent and cheaper. Now Josh won’t have to wear a green screen legwarmer type thing and they save money on CGI.
The “we marginalize people with disabilities and representations of them because it’s more convenient and cheaper” defense is kind of mindboggling and indicative of a lot of the ableism our society has internalized. The “more convenient and cheaper” for the rest of us excuse has been used for generations to justify discriminating against, excluding, and even denying basic human rights to people with disabilities…to the extent that laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act and Employment Discrimination Act are designed to intervene.
Also, it’s kind of difficult to argue that the same movie production that made CGI fireballs, mutant wolves, and the fanciest of facial hairs couldn’t cough up the money or talent for the illusion of a physical disability that would mostly have been hidden under a pants leg anyway.
1 out of 5 Americans have a disability. This is definitely not reflected in entertainment media. Though, given The Hunger Games film’s track record of exclusion it is not that unexpected.