Compare and contrast

Compare and contrast the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) World MS Day video from 2009 (positive portrayal of MS) with an Australian MS Society advert from 2007 (negative portrayal of MS) and read on…

The first time I saw “Beautiful Day” it brought tears to my eyes (and I absolutely hate U2). I guess because it depicted people with MS so positively. It also touched a nerve (‘scuse the pun), reminding me of that weird other-worldliness I experienced when I was first diagnosed.

Now take a look at this one…

I have seen the Australian “Saboteur” video get good responses on message boards and discussion forums from people with MS, but I think this is largely because people want to vent about how tough their illness is.

This is a natural response, I guess, but this sort of film doesn’t do people with MS any favours for all sorts of reasons, and it must be particularly tough for the newly diagnosed. Yeah, life is tough sometimes and I know I have a moan myself every now and then, but it’s easy for a bunch of people in an advertising agency or (dare I say it) an MS related organisation – people without MS – to decide what we should be feeling and how we should be portrayed.

I will be highlighting other negative and positive portrayals from now on.

With MS week in full swing, it is encouraging to see the UK’s MS Society engage in an advertising campaign that doesn’t depict people with MS as sufferers or victims, but demands fair treatment on our behalf.

2 thoughts on “Compare and contrast

  1. I absolutely agree about that Beautiful Day video… I think they get it bang on the button and it brought tears to my eyes too. I wouldn’t be so hard on the other video though, as I don’t think that’s a negative portrayal per se as much as it is trying to help people understand what having MS can be like — she’s not in a wheelchair at least and looks like she’s fit and active. What I’m concerned about in the portrayal of MS is that they show that it’s a condition with 1000 faces and that it affects us all in different ways. I’m sick of seeing Hugh Laurie diagnose MS from 1000 yards and put people onto an interferon drip, as though it was as simple as that. I’m also worried by the portrayal in the media of people like Debbie Purdy and her quest to be able die at a time of her own choosing. Good for her, I think, but I can’t help but worry that this is how people see MS and that debilitating disability and a desire to die are inevitable outcomes. That’s why that World MS Day video is so good, and I want to see more videos like that, as well as read more blogs like yours that help other people — including other MS sufferers — to understand more about the condition.

    1. Hiya – you are quite right about the woman in the Australian video looking fit and active. I think I object to the generally gloomy atmosphere, creepy music etc. and the fact that it focusses on the symptoms. I think it would have freaked me out if I’d seen it when first diagnosed.

      Agree regarding the Debbie Purdy coverage (not her fault).

      Can’t fault the MSIF video (‘nice’ to see men with MS being portrayed, too).

      Take care!

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