The Future is Fixable: Convention and Ableism in Science Fiction

Susan Flynn


Science fiction blockbusters engage a vast audience, while their treatment of disability contributes to the social construction of disability. Hollywood acts as a global transmitter of cultural pedagogy, a purveyor of images and messages, which are not necessarily in the interests of diverse marginalized and exploited groups across the world (Frymer et al, 2010, p.1). A decade since its release, Avatar (2009) remains iconic in its science fiction treatment of disability, as it literally subjugates the disabled body with technology, in the project of creating a new, more vibrant world. By celebrating technological advances and reifying science, both in the diegetic world of the film and the film experience for audiences, Avatar draws the audience into complicity with the project of ‘fixing’ disability. Biotechnology’s conspicuous largesse proposes a simplistic and unrealistic ‘solution’; one that negates the agenda of the disability rights movement by undermining Social Model ideologies.




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