“This Disney film features their first exclusively gay moment!” “If Emma Watson wants women to have equal choice, freedom, and liberation, why is she wearing barely any clothes in Vanity Fair Magazine?” We all know of the controversy triggered by Disney to get more people talking about this movie, which if you ask me, contributes relatively nothing when you’re the most successful family entertainment industry in the world. So why do so many businesses and companies want to stir up attention based on sexuality?
In today’s age of mobile technology, information can circulate faster than you can take a breath, so talking about something to attract a plethora of mixed heated opinions guarantees greater attention given to the source. However, just because a business can generate revenue a certain way does not mean they should.
To prove my point, I’ll explain it from the perspective of autism.
You all remember when Donald Trump appeared to mock a man with a limb disability; his specific motives in doing so are unknown, but the attention certainly helped him “trump” over the other Republican candidates, right? On a smaller scale, I recall a story when a boy with autism was beaten by neighbors in their house, and the video was posted online. Again, their exact motives in posting the video online are difficult to pinpoint, but my guess would be because they wanted the world to see mentally disabled people as stupid.
People with autism and other disabilities get used as substances of drawing attention all the time in the media, apart from familiar forms of bullying. At times, a publication could post an article about how they’ve hired somebody with a disability. Although they have good intentions, they ultimately (in most cases) use it to improve their own public branding. Not cool.
Yes, we should always celebrate whenever somebody on the autism spectrum gets a high-paying job or public honor for their unique skills. But we should also see these people as those with thoughts and opinions as strong as anybody else’s. They have no ambition to be used as a marketing ploy or attention grabber. If a headline came up saying, “Person with autism hired by big business,” don’t you think it demeans the identity of the person a bit, diminishing them to a label?
While Beauty & the Beast may have received more public attention by its controversial marketing, at the end of the day, the marketing strategy means nothing: once people actually go see the movie, it only matters whether they had a good time. In the same way, using autism as a means to draw attention to yourself will not always make your own productivity any better, all that matters is the services people receive from what a business has to offer.
- If you want to market your own business or company or corporation, avoid using headlines like, “first autistic employee!” Unlike what you may think, this labels autism as generally less productive than any neurotypical worker.
- Stop treating autism like a label you can assign to somebody. They do not like it when somebody sees them as only having autism. They want to be seen as somebody who has all sorts of skills which add value to the world.
- Please, please, please, please, please never demean autism. You are doing no public good by making autism sound like less than what the common folk have. You may think saying something out of the ordinary will give you attention, then you’re right; but be warned: it is not the attention you’re hoping you’d get.