Image library to tackle negative older and disabled people stereotypes launches

A charity campaign to tackle negative stereotypes has stepped up with the launch of a publicly accessible image library showing positive images of of older and disabled people people being active.

The Picture Yourself Active image library is encouraging charities, the media and the public to show realistic depictions of later life and disability.

The library has more than 300 photos and has been developed by the Centre for Ageing Better and Disability Rights UK.

As part of its campaign to tackle stereotypes, the Centre for Ageing Better launched guidance late last year to help charities and the media to stop using ageist language.

This latest image library also seeks to convey that not all disabilities are visible, such as autism.

The charities warn that current imagery “often patronises older and disabled people, showing physical activity as a deviation from the norm, rather than an ordinary part of many people’s lives”.

The library has been developed with consultation from disabled and older people to ensure they are realistic and reflect their lives.

“Images we see in everyday life often portray distorted images back at ourselves,” said Centre for Ageing Better chief executive Carole Easton.

“The relatively common negative pictures of older and Disabled people reaffirm unfair stereotypes and maintain harmful assumptions about them getting active.

“We are proud to be working with Get Yourself Active to provide these brilliant images, free of charge. We hope that they will be used widely, challenge preconceptions, and shift the narrative from pity to empowerment.”

Disability Rights UK chief executive Kamran Mallick added: “Disabled people are no strangers to inaccurate depictions. We've been battling stereotypes and lazy representations of us that fail to recognise our basic humanity for years and years. Negative attitudes are such a pervasive barrier that prevent Disabled people from getting out and having fun wherever they are.

“Picture Yourself Active is such an exciting project. It ensures that many more representative images are available to show Disabled people getting active. We want to see organisations take on the project's learning and advice to ensure that our lives are no longer reduced to lazy stereotypes.

“As a free and publicly available resource, we hope everyone can take on board the lessons the project provides. This library exists to challenge stereotypes and communicate a more diverse representation of what it means to be older and disabled. We are happy to be able to see ourselves properly represented finally."

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