The first quarter of this Today Show video made me gag a little, only because even Matt Lauer can’t seem to resist cliches like “inspirational” and not letting disabilities “slow her down”. The rest of the segment, though, was fantastic. Two specific points made me cheer:
1. Matt Lauer bringing up how Mercado’s work connects with young people who struggle with “body image”. That’s not a radical idea to those of us with disabilities, but it’s a very astute observation to come from a non-disabled interviewer.
2. Jillian Mercado saying, “It gets better”. She means for people with disabilities, and any youth with body image issues. But, whether she intended it or not, it was brilliant to use a phrase more familiar in the context of gay, lesbian, and transgender youth. In a lot of ways, our respective issues are quite similar, and the sentiment just as applicable.
Overall, the segment was specific, not generic, which is what I think we want most from stories about disabled people.