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Down Syndrome and Self-esteem: the Media's Portrayal of Self-esteem in Characters Who Have Down Syndrome

Description: Representations of people with a developmental disability are virtually not covered in the media. Although there is little coverage of people with developmental disabilities in the media, there are a few entertainment television characters who have Down syndrome and are represented in the media. This study will take a look at the history of how people with disabilities were represented in the media and examine how two television characters with Down syndrome were portrayed on the shows by examining their self-esteem. This study seeks to focus on portrayal of people with Down Syndrome because the physical features that people with Down Syndrome possess are easy to identify. Specifically, the study examines the portrayal of self-esteem in two television characters, Corky Thatcher (Life Goes On) and Becky Faye Jackson (Glee). The researcher will also examine how the portrayal of self-esteem in the two characters is similar or different in people who have Down Syndrome. In the study the researcher found that the representation of the character Corky was different from the character Becky. But both characters tackled issues that affected the Down Syndrome community and it affected their self-esteem. Corky and Becky were different from the interviewees in the way they realized their competencies. Although the interviewees who have Down Syndrome and the television characters used self-evaluation differently to evaluate one's own self-esteem, they all seem to exhibit a positive level of self-esteem.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Gee, Courtney
Partner: UNT Libraries