Disability is one of the largest minority groups. They experience stigmatization in many cultures. Similarly, many Thai people believe disability stems from bad karma or punishment for wrongdoing in a past life following Buddhist beliefs. This belief can lead to societal discrimination and the exclusion of people with disabilities. It makes it difficult for them to access education, employment, and other opportunities. Working with disability influencers can be a powerful way to challenge these negative perceptions and reduce stigma. It can significantly raise awareness about disability issues and advocate for change.
Aside from challenging negative perceptions of disability, disability influencers can also positively impact brands and businesses. Their uniqueness has significant power to attract people’s attention and increase engagement. Partnering with disability influencers can help increase visibility for brands and businesses representing people with disabilities while promoting more inclusive attitudes and behaviors. The rise of disability influencers has raised awareness of disabilities and inspired individuals across society. This article explains how disability influencers can provide a unique perspective on accessibility and inclusivity, helping brands improve their practices and policies.
Disability Influencers Who Combat Stigma
Disability influencers are individuals with disabilities who use social media to share their unique experiences and stories. They share their knowledge and thoughts regarding disabilities and social justice issues on social media. Social media platforms can be spaces for education and activism, offering disability influencers the opportunity to connect with audiences, learners, and supporters.
They need to share their thoughts, experiences, and stories. It creates a sense of community and belonging. Importantly, it also humanizes disability for the non-disabled. Many disability influencers create and share content to raise awareness and advocate for change. Some popular disability influencers are pioneers and fight against misconceptions about disabilities.
Alice Wong is a disabled activist, writer, editor, consultant, and influencer. She is the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project, an online community designed for creating and sharing disability media and culture. Alice conducted several campaigns that aimed to give fair chances to disabilities. For instance, she helped editors connect with disabled writers and journalists. She also started an online movement encouraging the political participation of disabled individuals.
Her books and articles have been featured in the New York Times, PEN America, and Teen Vogue. Her activism and work have also been featured in CNN, Huffington Post, and The Hill, inspiring many disabled and non-disabled people. In 2022, Alice ranked in a list honoring 100 Asians who made a lasting impact on culture and society. She currently works as a public speaker, representing the rights of disabilities.
Jillian is an American fashion model and influencer with muscular dystrophy. She takes pride in representing disabilities and women in aspirational advertising campaigns and magazines. She has starred in various campaigns, including Nordstrom, Target, and Cosmopolitan. Jillian is an active activist who acts as an advocate for disability. She wants people to see her as a creator, model, actor, and anything she sets her mind to. To live as authentically as possible, she actively works towards humanizing the disabled community.
While growing up, Jillian developed a love for fashion. But she faced a barrier to the industry’s beauty standards in which individuals with disabilities are under-represented. Jillian singlehandedly resolved the inequality in the fashion industry by entering fashion herself. By participating in many campaigns, she has significantly helped alter perceptions of the disabled community in society.
Aaron Rose Philip
Aaron is the first black, transgender, and physically disabled model to debut professionally. An advocate for LGBTQ+ and disability rights, she actively works to normalize the presence of disabled and LGBTQ+ individuals. Aaron is an icon of inclusivity and diversity and even made a cameo in Miley Cyrus’s music video in 2019.
But her real moment came in 2022. She made history as the first model in a wheelchair to grace the runway for an eminent fashion house.
Her achievement is not a singular moment but the start of a more inclusive reality in the fashion industry. It demonstrates that the LGBTQ+ and disabled communities can also have a seat at the table. Aaron also works for communities and consistently uses her voice to ensure the representation of individuals with disabilities.
Why Should Brands Work With Disability Influencers?
There are many reasons why brands and businesses should work with disability influencers. However, one significant reason is their uniqueness. Disability influencers are unique. Their authentic lives and stories contain critical messages of hope and love that would touch people’s hearts.
A growing number of brands and businesses support diversity. Brands that do not work with disability influencers as be perceived as not being diverse. Disabled people are one of the largest minority groups in the world. Statistics show disabled individuals represent a significant amount of the world’s population, around 15%. By excluding them, brands and businesses miss out on a colossal part of their audiences and communities.
Diversity is about celebrating and supporting people across the board. Being fully diverse includes understanding and exploring their unique experiences. Furthermore, it’s about opening up conversations to educate new audiences. Working with disability influencers can help brands and businesses avoid losing out on traffic and engagement. It is a wise way to include and represent disability influencers in the conversation.
Promote Brands and Improve Products
The ultimate goal for most brands and businesses is to make a product and promote it in a way that fits the needs of all or as many people as possible. Universal and inclusive product and product design is becoming an increasingly crucial concept. Therefore, more and more brands and businesses are working hard to make their brands and products inclusive for a broader market.
Disability influencers can significantly help with this concept. They can assist brands and businesses in developing products to fit the needs of broader customers. Their experiences, insights, and suggestions would be highly reliable and trustworthy. Brands and products stand to gain significant credibility and trust with endorsements from disability influencers.
Possible Ways to Collaborate with Disability Influencers
There are a range of advantages when working with disability influencers. Brands and businesses could consider partnering with disability influencers to promote inclusivity and diversity.
Collaborating with Local Disability Influencers
Brands could seek out local influencers in Thailand who are active in advocating for disability rights and promoting inclusivity and diversity. Brands and businesses can benefit from local influencers. Local disability influencers could leverage individuals in the market. They have deeper connections with their followers. Influencers could collaborate on marketing campaigns and product launches. Additionally, local disability influencers can also share their own experiences and insights as people with disabilities in Thailand.
Highlighting Stories of Resilience and Determination
In addition to collaborating with local disability influencers, brands can incorporate a more inclusive approach to their marketing campaigns. Brands could also use their marketing campaigns to highlight stories of resilience and determination among people with disabilities in Thailand. Showcase disability influencers in advertising campaigns or share stories of local people with disabilities who have overcome significant challenges to achieve their goals. By doing so, brands can promote a more inclusive image of themselves. Furthermore, it inspires others to embrace diversity and overcome barriers in their own lives.
Promoting Diversity and Inclusivity in Advertising
Finally, brands in Thailand could use their advertising and marketing materials to promote diversity and inclusivity, including featuring people with disabilities in their advertising and using inclusive language and imagery. Including disability, influencers can significantly help shift negative perceptions among the public. It can also promote a more positive attitude toward disability and a more inclusive and equitable society.
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