Disabled Model Show Handicapped by Sincerity

Britain's Missing Top Model tries to make contestants into heroes
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2009 1:43 PM CST
The models from "Britain's Missing Top Model" are shown in an image from the show's website.   (BBC)
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(Newser) – A British reality show about disabled women competing to win a spot as a fashion model has mostly admirable intentions, but ultimately does more harm than good. "There is something both bold and troubling about Britain’s Missing Top Model," writes Alessandra Stanley in the New York Times. "It’s a contest designed to raise the profile and confidence of disabled women but makes a spectacle of their hunger for acceptance."

"The contestants’ desire to be desired, not pitied or patronized, makes sense," Stanley continues, and they are actually treated just the same as non-disabled models in one very important way: "An ounce of fat is a greater hurdle than a missing limb," she writes, recalling one photographer on the show who says, "Rebecca’s disability didn’t cause me any problems. It was just the fact she’s not really in shape."

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