Woman With Cerebral Palsy Petitions Disney to Make Disabled Princesses

The role of disability in modern media is one which has divisive opinions and ideas across the general public. As disability advocates, we are fully on board with the idea of people having visible disabilities and conditions in widespread media, and it seems that our enthusiasm is shared by one Hannah Diviney, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth and wants Disney to start making characters who have visible disabilities. 

As part of her ongoing work to try and make this a reality, Hannah has started a campaign which has seen exceptional support from people all over Hollywood, including Mark Hamill and Reese Witherspoon. 

Her ideology is simple for Hannah – her journey as a person towards self-acceptance and enjoying life might have been easier for her – and countless others – if there had been role models in modern media who looked like she did. Positive representations for people are, after all, vital for forming a positive image growing up. 

Speaking of the campaign, Hannah had this to say:

“The campaign is basically to create a disabled Disney princess, and the reason for that specifically is because Disney princesses are the ones that get the most visibility. They’re the ones you see on the bedspreads and the toys and the books and the birthday parties and the Halloween costumes and all of that, so kind of wanted to go for maximum visibility with my choice there”.

Hannah started her campaign in 2020, forming an online crusade to get Disney to make a character with visible disabilities. The petition now has 64,000 signatures. 

Outside of her activism, the 23-year-old lives a rich and full life, working as an editor for an online news platform specifically for women and starred recently in an Australian TV series called “Latecomers”. However, she’s also talked candidly about her struggles growing up and recognising that she was, ultimately, different from other children. 

Hannah has also been active on social media too, using Twitter to challenge both Lizzo and Beyoncé for their use of ‘spaz’, which is obviously a derogatory term. The tweets went viral, and both artists recorded their songs again, which is nice. 

As NDIS providers Gold Coast, we love the activism that is being brought to the table by people like Hannah on a daily basis. It’s great that people are trying their best to push for more inclusive worlds and give people a chance to see role models and characters who are like them.

We’ve gone a little beyond pretending that people don’t have disabilities or that they aren’t a part of society – these types of conditions are everywhere, and they need to be represented in modern media. Disney, in particular, has a responsibility to try and be as inclusive as it can because they’re such a big part of modern media and life. If we can work to improve the visibility of people through modern media, then perhaps we can build a world which is more inclusive and kinder to everyone. 

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