Updated: Jun 5
I'm sure many of you are aware of the programme 'The Undateables' which is a programme broadcast in the UK. Check it out here if you are interested to find out more.
A brief summary
The programme features different individuals who hope to find their soul mate. The applicants of this show are offered a helping hand from agencies on the show who specialise in matching people with disabilities, based on their personal interests and similarities. The official dates are then featured on the show and broadcast on Channel 4.
But is this show seen as 'harmful' to the disabled population or is it beneficial in terms of educating us?
My views on this show are still undecided as I feel that it sends both a positive and negative message to the general population who view the programme.
Unfortunately we live in a very cruel world where not everyone is accepted. In some cases, 'differences' are viewed negatively by others. Individuals with disabilities/conditions are at risk of having low self esteem due to the world we live in because of this lack of acceptance. Disabilities, such as Deafness are considered a 'taboo' subject in society, therefore it is a foreign topic to most people.
Sometimes on a bad day, I wish there was a magic 'pill' that I could take which would cure my deafness AND my depression, so I could be 'normal'.
On the other hand, 'what is normal?'.
I believe that our differences should be celebrated! If we were all 'normal', the world would be a very boring place. This programme can be viewed as celebrating those differences!
Although, I feel that it exploits these individuals more, for our entertainment.
The applicants may need support finding love (and some even succeed on the show which warms my heart), but the label is placed on those individuals which portrays them in a different way to the rest of us! 'Undateable'.
It feels like a stamp printed on my forehead delivered with a brutal force!
Most of the people on the programme have low self esteem, or have had their self esteem knocked.
I can relate on a personal level. The fear of judgement, fear of misunderstanding and the fear of not being accepted.
I feel that the programme title does not help at all with ones self esteem and confidence! I feel that the applicants are automatically placed in a category.
My worry is that 'what if their date does not work out for them?' ... I worry about the impact of their mental health.
Rejection, for any person can feel harsh. How must the applicants feel during that moment on a programme that will be broadcast for millions to view? Most of the people on there are genuinely gutted and it breaks my heart watching them.
I really do have a lot of admiration for all of the applicants for their bravery to go on a TV programme and be so open about their conditions! In contrast, the programme is a great way to raise awareness of many different conditions and I find this thoroughly interesting! If I didn't watch this programme, I would not be aware of what the condition Tourettes is and I would not be as open minded as I am now. I think more about the social and emotional impacts different disabilities can have on a person.
It is certainly a good way to educate viewers to become aware and perhaps sympathise, resulting in them less likely to make negative judgements? Perhaps this could help towards more people becoming more accepting of people with disabilities?
Several years ago, I had never had a boyfriend due to hiding my hearing, lack of communication skills and self- confidence.
Me and my friend were watching the programme one night and she said "Oh Louise you should go on there!!" My response was "seriously?!". I know she had a good heart and only wanted to help, but it made me wonder if I would ever find a boyfriend and if I would ever be able to "come out" completely with my hearing loss and be confident.
Now at 25 years old, I have dated a couple of 'hearing' guys over the years and had one long term relationship of nearly three years. I have had good and bad experiences (I will blog about these at some point!). But I never gave up. Does my disability mean people have the right to classify me as 'Undateable'? No it doesn't. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE has a chance of meeting someone, whether it is a love interest or simply a friendship. Sometimes we need a little help to push us out there.
My message to you lovely readers who feel like giving up..
Do not let society label you as 'different' or 'outcasts'. Be proud of who you are and one day, someone will see through that and will see what wonderful people you are with a brilliant personality.
Overall, I am still undecided on whether this show is having a positive or negative effect on the disabled population? But I do enjoy watching the show, simply because I love to learn more about these inspirational people. Most of all... I do love a happy ending!
If it wasn't for this show, these successful love stories would not have happened!
There has not been any Deaf applicants on the show as far as I am aware? Maybe at some point in the future there will be a Deaf individual who wishes to give the show a try? ...
I can appreciate that this is a delicate issue, but I would very much like to hear your opinions!