Me Before Ableism

by Josefine B.


You’ve probably heard of it; the successful movie that was adapted from a bestseller by the romance author JoJo Moyes. Since its release in May of this year, the movie ‘Me Before You’ has gained praise from the general population as well as film critics.

However, the masses cheering on this film have ignored something that certainly shouldn’t be overlooked. Disability rights activists have voiced their opinions on this movie (and the novel on which it is based), but for the most part, they have gone unheard.

If you’re one of the many people who have missed the critique of the film, allow me to fill you in. The movie, which is centered around the relationship between a man with quadriplegia and his able-bodied caretaker, Lou, has been called out for its ableist narrative.

Now, a lot of able-bodied people don’t actually know exactly what ableism is. Which doesn’t surprise me, (in fact, the dictionary on my laptop doesn’t even recognize the word) however, the word ableism is by definition: the discrimination against people with disabilities, often in favor of able-bodied people.

Even after that explanation, there might still be some people who cannot see how ‘Me Before You’ could be an example of ableism in media. Well, that is what this article is about, which also means that if you are not interested in hearing any spoilers from the film/novel, now is probably the time for you to stop reading.

On the other hand, if you’re more interested in learning more about the issue of ableism, then I strongly advise you to read on.

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2 thoughts on “Me Before Ableism

  1. Danni says:

    I really enjoyed reading this, because I’d heard all the hype and thought ”ooh! a cute new romantic movie to watch on a Saturday night with my ice cream–and oh! Emilia Clarke!” and then I watched the movie, and I rolled my eyes rather excessively. My existence means multiple mental and physical disabilities, I can very much relate to the ”this life isn’t worth living” aspect on a personal note, but, on a general and broad spectrum, I was (and am) pretty irked that the message in this movie reiterates my own feeling of ”you’re sick and you’re stuck like this and therefore, what’s the point in being alive” because I’m allowed to sulk and feel blue about having disabilities, but someone who doesn’t have those disabilities, simply doesn’t have the right to say that. I hope this makes sense- for sure nowhere near as articulate as your essay!


  2. Josefine B. says:

    Hi Danni 🙂 Thank you so much for your awesome feedback!

    And yes, I know exactly what you mean. Having a disability means struggling a lot in life – sometimes even to the point where you become depressed and hopeless. It’s difficult, but it’s not the end. Like I’ve tried to say online, ‘Me Before You’ doesn’t do any good for people with disabilities, no matter what kind of situation they’re in. This movie is NOT representation for people who are struggling with their disability. It is a movie that tells them that there is no hope, no light after a walk in the darkness, which is not only extremely hurtful but also untrue.

    I’m very sorry that this film upset you, but let me tell you that there is hope. And light.
    I’m sending you all the smiles and hugs \(*-*)/

    – Josefine


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