How Peanut Butter Is A Step Forward In Disability Representation

Among the top 100 blockbuster movies released in 2017, 2.5% of the characters in those movies were portrayed as people with disabilities. Of this amount, the majority were portrayed as having a physical or communication impairment. On TV shows the study of it 95% of the characters portrayed with disabilities have been portrayed by actors without disabilities. Our screens are rarely honored with a feature film or series starring a character with a disability performed by an actor with a disability. A notable exception is 2019 softened peanut butter. movie stars Zach GottsagenHe is a normal-born man with Down syndrome. what makes softened peanut butter This important step in the right direction for the representation of disability in film is not just in the acting, but in how the story develops.

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Gottsagen plays Zack, an aspiring wrestler who escapes from a Virginia-funded residential nursing home and embarks on a journey to attend a professional champion wrestling school in North Carolina. Help him all the way Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), a hunter fleeing the law, and being pursued by Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), who is primarily responsible for his care in the nursing home. The script that runs from here is what happens when someone acts with self-determination and pursues their goal without fear of failure – a scenario that was also reflected in Gottsagen’s journey with the film industry.

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In the world of disability support services, there is a philosophy of risk-taking. this is Philosophy is defined asDignity of risk-taking is the idea that self-determination and the right to take reasonable risks are essential to dignity and self-respect, and therefore should not be hampered by caregivers who are overly cautious, anxious about their duty of care. Said duty of care is the responsibility of the caregiver or principal support specialist (DSP) to ensure that the person they are supporting does not cause harm to themselves or others, and is free from immediate danger. This legal obligation to protect the health, safety, and well-being of others can often lead people with disabilities into situations where motivated caregivers say nothing and everything they want to do to “protect” them from failure. Caregivers and digital service providers must want to do everything they can to prepare individuals for success, but the denial of the experience of failure is the antithesis of a meaningful life.


Zack begins the movie stuck in this rut. He lives in an apartment facility where he doesn’t feel like he belongs, but as Eleanor frankly explains to him, he’s there because the state put him there. He’s a 22-year-old man who lives in a nursing home that’s usually reserved for seniors, and he’s in this system that’s not designed for him. This is a reality for many people with disabilities. Because of lack of access to resources, or because of entrenched bureaucracy, young people with disabilities feel stuck in nursing homes receiving care they could receive in a separate home, or in an integrated community setting. Opportunities for self-direction are limited in long-term care facilities and with The shadow of institutionalization Hanging heavy in recent history, it is extremely important to continue to expand the freedoms of choice for people with disabilities. Frustrated by his circumstances and his passion for freedom of choice, Zack flees a nursing home and chases after his dream of becoming a professional wrestler.


Because of her relationship with Zack, Eleanor is assigned by her supervisor, Glenn (Lee Spencer), with Zack found before he has to report the incident to the state – something Eleanor rightly pointed out that he should definitely do right away. Glenn describes Zack as a helpless “boy” with no life experience and criticizes Eleanor for letting him escape; As serious as he blames Eleanor, this is clearly a problem he doesn’t want to deal with head on. Eleanor finds out about the wrestling school and goes to work to track down Zack. As much as she clearly cares about Zack’s well-being, Eleanor still holds the same belief that Zack is completely helpless without the enforced structure of a nursing home, and that sense of frightened protection is what drives her research.


It’s this belief that gets her to hook up with Tyler once she finally catches up with Zack. Eleanor insists Zach needs to return to the nursing home to receive professional care, while Tyler maintains that Zach is better off “for living life.” While the two argue, Zack makes his own decision and throws the keys to Eleanor’s car in the waves. Eleanor is forced to come for the ride in order to keep an eye on Zach, but she begins to see the ways Zach thrives outside the nursing home. When she reaches out to Glenn by phone and discovers that he intends to move Zack to a facility that is more densely populated at risk, Eleanor joins the team and helps him get to North Carolina to meet the retarded saltwater team (Thomas Haden Church). She puts Zach’s self-inquiry before the rules, regulations, papers, and window bars she knows await Zach’s return in Virginia.


Not everything is so clean for Zack after he leaves the nursing home. He faces unfamiliar challenges and frightening situations. He also makes friends and learns new things about himself. And spoiler alert, he didn’t eventually become a professional wrestler – he found the school closed and his champion retired. But he gets critical life experiences he wouldn’t have otherwise, all while receiving normal support from the people who have been with him on his journey. It’s a track that reflects Gottsagen’s journey while making the film.

softened peanut butter It wouldn’t exist without Zack Gottsagen. Gottsagen trained throughout his life to be an actor, and met with film directors, Tyler Nelson And the Michael SchwartzAnd the At an acting camp for actors with and without disabilities. The duo were impressed by Gottsagen’s talents. Realizing the slim chance that a movie starring an actor with Down syndrome could be funded in Hollywood today, Gottsagen convinced them to write a movie that was the only one that could make headlines. Finding supporters for the film was certainly difficult. “Every step of the way was kind of an uphill battle,” Nelson says in a dated interview. This morning. “We were told this wouldn’t be marketable, and people wouldn’t go to see it in theaters…because it wasn’t a marketable face.” Which, it must be said, is not true.


was the team Funds offered to rework Gottsagen With an A-list actor, which functionally means Gottsagen replaced by a skilled actor. Somehow, these executives viewed the film as something they couldn’t figure out how to market. They viewed Gottsagen as a risk they were not willing to take. Apparently, Nelson and Schwartz turned down the offers and stuck to Gottsagen, whose personal drive, talent and legitimate ambition was initially born. Much of the film’s content is drawn from Gottsagen’s personal experiences, which is exactly how films featuring disabilities should be made – guided by the lived experiences of people with disabilities in the cast and crew locations. Although the film was hard to come by, Gottsagen and his friends Nelson and Schwartz remained unwilling. They took the risk, and it paid off. The directors could have made a misguided attempt to protect Gottsagen from failure, but instead invested in his ambition and took a risk with it. It paid off.

For Zack in the movie, the happy ending seems less clear. Although the saltwater slicker has finished wrestling, he’s convinced to throw a local fight card to Zack as the Peanut Butter Hawk. His opponent is supposed to easily deal with Zach, but during the match he does not hold back and begins to beat Zach. Despite the brutality, Zach rises to the occasion and wins the match while saving Tyler from his past as he catches up with him. In the last shot, Zach heads to Florida with Eleanor and Tyler, and while we don’t know what’s going to happen next, we do know that Zach will set the direction of his life, rather than making his decisions for him. Star safety and protection.

As the world moves forward to advance the rights of people with disabilities, film can prove to be an important tool. Through inclusive representation and the development of an informed story, films that show disabilities can help change our culture and develop mindsets. softened peanut butter It is clear evidence that not everything has to be successful for it to matter, and that the best way to support people with disabilities is to support them in taking the wheel, not strapping them in the back seat.