In the media, disfigurement is often described with negative words and imagery. Words like ‘horrifically disfigured’, ‘grotesquely scarred’, ‘ugly birthmark’, and ‘misshapen head’ are commonly used.
Coverage also tends to be medicalised – people with disfigurements are often the subject of documentaries that present them as quirks of nature, abnormal or in need of surgery. They are rarely seen in soaps, game shows or as incidental characters in drama or comedy. In film, disfigurement is often used as a device to portray evil personality traits in the characters involved, like Freddie Kreuger in ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’, or the countless villains in James Bond (and other) films.
Advertisements for cosmetic surgery and the beauty industry portray scars, blemishes and other forms of disfigurement as unsightly and to be removed.
Those that get it right in the media, advertising and film in relation to portrayals of disfigurement make sure that they