Inclusivity as Inspiration

The article I chose for this week lacks in length and elaboration, but I think it doesn’t need either of these things as it’s a story that speaks for itself in a delightful, tender kind of way. Gerber has chosen Lucas Warren, an 18-month-old baby with Down Syndrome, to become the new “baby of the year” and therefore a model for their commercials and his parents become the recipients of a 50,000 dollar cash prize. The article goes not much further than this, naming the parents and sharing unbearably cute photos of Lucas, but the reason to publish it in the first place speaks to a larger rhetoric on special needs representation in the media, both in news coverage and in advertisement. As someone with special needs family members (and also just a person who cares about representation), I find it incredibly paramount that positive recognition of those with disabilities be utilized in advertisement. Not only does it promote the company’s inclusiveness and awareness, but the psychology of who is shown in an advertisement on a regular basis does indeed have a greater impact on society. This seems like a sweet, miniscule story, but I think it’s an essential one to our discussion of media in academia, as who television ads and news outlets choose as representatives can actually make the world a better place. Lucas may not be able to talk or walk yet, and isn’t aware of what he’s participating in, but those with disabilities and special needs will now see him as a positive figure in the media, and when you’re a part of a marginalized, underrepresented group, this is everything.