Parinita Shetty

Episode 10 Reclaiming Stories: Representations of Dyspraxia and Autism in Doctor Who/Fandom

Episode 10 Reclaiming Stories: Representations of Dyspraxia and Autism in Doctor Who/Fandom

In this episode, Parinita talks to Robert Shepherd about the representations of dyspraxia and autism in Doctor Who – both the TV series and its online fandom. We chat about some difficult issues related to disability, specifically family, trauma and abuse so please consider this as a content warning. Media representations of disabilities have a huge impact on people with those disabilities. The downside of seeing their disability represented onscreen is that it can reify fraught relationships and troubling experiences that they recognise from their own lives. Even well-intentioned representations can have really damaging consequences. Centering the needs and desires of the family rather than the needs and desires of the person with the disability can have harmful impacts – both in media and in real life. You can find examples of structural ableism not only in media but also in fandom. Fans with disabilities read themselves into characters who aren’t explicitly written as disabled to counter ableist representations. The kinds of stories which are told about autism – both in media and in society – can perpetuate distressing eugenics narratives. Fanfiction can be an important way for fans with disabilities to assert their agency by writing their own stories. Fanfiction can challenge fixed notions of disabilities and show a different way of being human. Find our conversation about all this and more in today’s episode. Episode cover image courtesy Robert Shepherd inspired by the hair dryer aliens in his Doctor Who fanfiction Never Change which we discuss in this episode archiveofourown.org/works/16454213/…apters/39165052

Duration: 1 hr 9 min

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