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Britain's Missing Top Model

Anne Dalke's picture

Beware what you ask for! I tracked down the source for those models in pink. Whaddya think??


Amophrast's picture

Still a Supercrip?

If "you're an inspiration," "that's so incredible," and "give me advice" come from people with disabilities directed towards someone with a disability who "overcame" something, does that still make them a supercrip?

As much as I like and understand the concept of supercrip, I don't think it applies to some things. Or maybe I just don't think it's a bad thing. A blind man hiking the entire Appalachian trail? I think that's impressive because I don't think that's something I would be able to do. I probably can do it, theoretically as an able-bodied person, but I don't think I would be able to do it actually, in practice. Being a model? Sure, I know some people who have done a little bit of modeling, but nothing compared to what Kelly has done. I think it's pretty impressive to be a successful model.

So why use the term supercrip?

We do this for EVERYTHING. The first woman to... [be in space, be elected to Congress, be a female jockey]. The first black... [president, M.D. degree, millionaire]. Bryn Mawr takes advantage of this. Global leadership for women!

In the case of the girl with Down's Syndrome having a boyfriend, it might not be so impressive to say "the first woman to have a boyfriend." But what about "the first same-sex couple to get married"? What about the first legaly married black couple in the United States?

What about the world's first democracy?

Any people or minority who has been oppressed in the past (women, blacks, latinos, the poor, people with disabilities) are glorified with their accomplishments, usually by people within the same subgroup. Aren't they still supercrips?

Or maybe there are no supercrips and it's just pretty damn impressive to have some visibility where the majority seems to systematically ignore.

rachelr's picture

Missing as in not present

So I went onto YouTube and watched the trailer and some interviews with some of the Britain's Missing Top Models, and "missing" as in missing something is one interpretation of the title. But while listening to what people were saying in the trailer, what I heard was that the title is more about what’s missing in the fashion industry. There are the skinny, size 2-4 models, there are plus-sized models, but what all of them have in common is that they can see the clothes, listen to instructions, and use their legs to walk down the runway. As a man in the trailer remarks, “It’s become part of athletics, it’s become part of walking down the street, it should be part of fashion.”


While I think the idea of this show is great in helping to give women with disabilities a place in the fashion industry, by creating a show that is only women with disabilities it gives off the feeling that they individually wouldn’t be able to succeed if they were surrounded by women without disabilities. In Cycle 11 of America’s Top Model one of the contestants, Isis, identifies as transgendered and I appreciated both the fact that she was a contestant and that she was on a fashion show not catered towards people who are not the fashion “norm”- 6’, 110 lbs, long think legs, very much female and hypersexualized that way. Heather has Asperger’s and won CoverGirl of the Week eight times in a row on Cycle 9. Amanda from Cycle 3 was legally blind.


I guess where this is all going is that disability consistently focuses on what someone can’t do rather than what they can do. I volunteered at a therapeutic horseback riding program in high school where I worked with a boy named Garrett who had Autism. He talked to me about how he wanted to be a mounted police officer, and that he wanted to do what I was doing when he was older (helping out in the program). Whenever his mother heard him saying that to me she would discourage him and tell him not to talk about that. I thought it was great that he wanted to do that and was shocked that she discouraged him- he was great with horses and with more training and experience it was definitely something that he could do. Disabilities don’t mean that you can’t be a full person- while Garrett will probably never be in the NBA, I will probably never be in the WNBA. Just because someone can’t do one thing does not mean that they cannot excel at another. 

AmyMay's picture


The title of the TV show irks me a little.... "Britain's Missing Top Model"?  Besides not being very catchy, it seems to imply that all the models are missing something.  From the picture, some models are physically missing limbs, but others (such as the woman in the wheel chair) appear corporeally intact.  What is "missing" from these women?  Putting the focus on what they lack seems to me to set a negative tone, as if they are defective.  It buys into the same idea of able-bodied as "normal" and any deviation as "missing" essential characteristics.  Cool idea for a show, lame title.  Hopefully the show itself is more empowering than the name.

Roy Nelson's picture

Well in Angola...

There are so many people with missing limbs that they have beauty contests for people with missing limbs... There are also one legged football or rather soccer teams as the country is soccer mad...

To put it in context the conservative estimate is that there are still 11 million mines unaccounted for.