Recently, Disney Pixar has been taking on difficult stereotypes, especially concerning disability stereotypes. It started with Finding Nemo, the tale of a young fish with a small fin that makes it difficult for him to swim correctly, yet he went on a grand adventure, overcame challenges, and made lifelong friends–all with a disability. The other recent one was Inside Out, which focused more on mental health, but shattered disability stereotypes nonetheless.
Now Disney Pixar is back at it again with Finding Dory (sequel to Finding Nemo). This focuses on Dory, a fish with memory loss issues, and her quest to find her parents. CBS News recently published an article about how the plot of Finding Dory helps dismantle disability stereotypes.
How ‘Finding Dory’ fights disability stereotypes
“The problem is not necessarily that Dory’s brain works differently from other people’s, but that other people aren’t willing to extend kindness or be patient with her, or work with her on the terms that her brain works.” –Alyssa Rosenberg, Washington Post columnist
There are so many disability stereotypes floating around in our society. It’s thought that if you have a disability, you can’t excel, you can’t move forward, you can’t do things by yourself–which none of these are correct. In Finding Dory, Dory has lived her whole life with short-term memory loss, but she’s never allowed disability stereotypes to get in her way.
Finding Dory doesn’t just include one character with a disability, but many. Bailey the beluga whale struggles with his sonar abilities, Hank the octopus only has 7 tentacles, and Destiny the shark has vision issues. But while all of these characters have a disability that many believe would hold them back, none of them have let these disability stereotypes keep them from discovering other helpful, awesome skills.
This movie sends a very positive message to young children and youth who have a disability. It teaches them that your disability doesn’t have to define you and it can even become your greatest strength.
For information about residential treatment centers for teens that help young people struggling with a disability, check out Seven Stars.