(Where) Are Disabled Girls in Virtual Space? Representation of disability and gender in Google Images

Donna Lee

Abstract


In this paper I explore virtual space as a specific location in which representation and meaning-making take place.  Virtual space is a space in which modern girls spend much of their time.  It is the space in which social interactions, identity formations and re/presentation occur for many girls.  This space is portable, changeable, and is touted as accessible to those with impairments (although this assertion is not uncontested, Ellis & Kent, 2011); as such it is valuable to examine if and how disabled girls are represented within this space.  Virtual space is vast and in order to narrow the scope of this paper, I used the search engine Google Images to pull from virtual space a selection of images that I interrogated using a mixed methods approach to ask: Are disabled girls present in virtual space?  If so, where are they in that space and how are they represented there?


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