Paralympians Have Been Left Outraged By These Photos


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Vogue Brazil have left Paralympians outraged as the nation prepares to open the 2016 Paralympic games on September 7.

The magazine has caused uproar following the publication of a photo on it’s instagram where able-bodied models had disabilities edited onto their bodies.

As reported by Newsbeat, the image was captioned ‘we are all Paralympians’.

Vogue-Brasil-750x482Vogue Brasil/Instagram

The evidence is pretty damning when contrasted with this image of Cleo Pires and Paulo Vilhena – the models pictured.

Both ambassadors for the Brazilian Paralympic Committee, the reported concept behind the shoot was for the models to represent Paralympic table tennis player Bruna Alexandre and volleyball player Renato Leite.

Pires defended the photos on Instagram saying, ‘As ambassador, we lend our images to give visibility [to a cause], and that’s what we are doing, my God.’

Disabled model Chelsey Jay does not agree, she told Newsbeat:

The image looks beautiful but what were Brazilian Vogue thinking, it’s completely and utterly wrong.

The 25-year-old who suffers from Postural tachycardia syndrome (Pots) has difficulties walking and standing up, offered an explanation as to how the publication got it so drastically wrong.

She added:

Brands want to start embracing disability but they don’t know how to go about it, they are making things worse. The media think that it’s ok to pretend that able-bodied people are disabled and that’s not ok.

As a disabled model it’s almost impossible to get work, Unless its for a specific disabled role. I want to be cast as a girl with brown hair not a disabled girl, there is so much more to me than my disability.

Richard Lane, group head of campaigns at disability charity Scope, said it’s “hard to understand why Vogue Brazil felt the need to use models who aren’t disabled in a Paralympic photoshoot”.

He said: 

The magazine has missed the perfect opportunity to celebrate Brazil’s talented Paralympians as sporting equals.

It’s so rare to see positive and powerful representations of disabled people in the media.

The Paralympics is a time to challenge negative attitudes to disability.

There are one billion disabled people in the world. Let’s see disabled people’s lives properly reflected, not imitated.

There is no doubt that Vogue Brazil meant well, but at a time when the world readies to celebrate the achievements of disabled athletes it’s ridiculous to take this photo, and then undermine their superhuman efforts with a line like ‘we are all Paralympians’.