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Breaking down barriers in the modeling industry

In diesem Auszug aus der Februar-Ausgabe der Read On berichten wir von zwei Modellagenturen, die sich zum Ziel gesetzt haben, dass Menschen mit Behinderungen stärker in der Werbung vertreten werden. 

Models with disabilities are beginning to make their mark on an industry that shut them out for years.

*American English
By Tim Brown

Society’s beauty standards are all too often formed by the images we see in advertising. This has resulted in certain types of physical appearance being more accepted than others. In recent years, there has been more diversity in skin color, gender, age, and body shape in advertisements than ever before. However, there is one group that is still underrepresented: those with disabilities. This has inspired some people to start modeling agencies that specifically represent those models.

There are two such companies which are beginning to make waves in the advertising industry: VisAble, founded in 1993 by Louise Dyson, and Zebedee Management, founded in 2017 by Laura Johnson and Zoe Proctor. The names of the companies are no coincidence. Dyson wants to make these models visible while drawing attention to their ability, not their disability. Zebedee is named after a character in the TV series „The Magic Roundabout“ who bounces around on a spring.

In the UK, according to research by Lloyds Banking Group, just 0.06 percent of people in advertisements have a visible disability. This largely underrepresented the roughly 20 percent of the population of the UK who have such disabilities. People not only view diverse brands more favorably, but such inclusion could provide visible role models for those living with disabilities.


Hier geht es zum vollständigen Artikel aus der aktuellen Ausgabe der Read On!


0—1 To break down barriers Grenzen überwinden (barrier Hürde, Barriere) — industry Branche — disability Behinderung — to make one’s mark (fig) sich einen Namen machen — to shut out ausschließen — society Gesellschaft — advertising Werbung — to result in dazu führen, dass … — physical körperlich — appearance Erscheinung, Aussehen — to accept akzeptieren — in recent … in den letzten … — diversity Vielfalt — body shape Körperform — advertisement (ad) Werbekampagne, Werbung — however jedoch — underrepresented unterrepräsentiert (to r. vertreten) — to inspire s.o. to do s.th. jdn. dazu bewegen, etw. zu tun — agency Agentur — specifically speziell

2—3 to make waves (fig) Aufsehen erregen — to found gründen — coincidence Zufall — visible sichtbar — to draw attention to die Aufmerksamkeit lenken auf — ability Fähigkeit(en) — character Figur — The Magic Roundabout Das Zauberkarussel — to bouncen hüpfen — spring Sprungfeder — according to laut — research Forschung; Studien — largely in hohem Maße — roughly ungefähr — Population  Bevölkerung — to view favorably als positiv bewerten — brand Marke — to provide h.: schaffen — role Model Vorbild

Language corner: How to talk about disability

Words and phrases to use when talking about disability:

✓ somebody uses a wheelchair
✓ somebody with a disability / impairment
✓ somebody has cereal palsy / lives with MS
✓ somebody is deaf / blind / visually impaired

Words and phrases to avoid when talking about disability:

x wheelchair bound
x suffers from …
x handicapped
x cripple / deformed / lame / maimed
x special / mentally challenged / retarded
x mute / dumb


phrase Ausdruck — impairment Einschränkung — zerebral palsy Zerebralparese — MS =multiple sclerosis multiple Sklerose — deaf gehörlos — to avoid s.th. etw. vermeiden — handicapped gehandicapt — cripple Krüppel — deformed missgebildet — lame lahm — maimed verkrüppelt — special besonders — mentally challenged geistig behindert — retarded zurückgeblieben — mute; dumm stumm