Disability in the Media: Celebrities and Psychiatry

I’ve been struggling to come up with an entry for this month’s Disability Blog Carnival, the theme of which is “Disability in the Media.” In terms of psychiatric disability, this has been quite a year: first we had Owen Wilson’s attempted suicide and battle with depression. The latest, of course, is media speculation about whether or not Britney Spears has bipolar disorder. I tend to agree that these events are a mixed blessing — if they help to raise awareness and greater sensitivity towards individuals with mental illness, that would be great. Unfortunately, I think the reports on Spears are just going to reinforce the same old, same old.

2 thoughts on “Disability in the Media: Celebrities and Psychiatry

  1. Oh, Heather, I think you just solved a mystery for me. Yesterday our sitemeter was recording search after search for pictures of Frances Farmer (we posted one in the fall, on the occasion of Farmer’s birthday), from all over the world. Now I’m thinking someone somewhere must have compared Farmer’s much-mythologized experience of mental illness to Spears’s apparent difficulties, and folks are looking up Farmer. Hm! Aha!

    Be glad you don’t live in LA, where all these “stories” are considered local news and covered with the same lurid scrutiny as a bad car accident or city hall sex scandal.

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