Talking about: Stigma through Disfigurement


Kelly, who was badly burnt, talks with Malcolm Brown.

SKU: 1273
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Producer: Professor Malcolm Brown, Queens University, Belfast
Year Produced: 1986
Running time: 16 minutes
Trailer:  Watch on Youtube
Watch online: ideo on demand


Kelly is an 18-year-old girl who fell in a fire when she was two years old. She suffered serious burns to her face and head and has facial disfigurement. She shares her experience, and in a very sensitive and common sense way talks about what life is like for her, categorising people as to whether they treat her normally, reject her or see her as an object of curiosity, talks of the names she is called, the things that hurt, her feelings about friends and her assessment of their feelings about her: her desire for a boyfriend but their preoccupation with physical attractiveness, her hopes and her fears for the future and her greatest area of vulnerability — curious children who ask questions loudly. Kelly’s story complements, in a most meaningful and poignant way, generally accepted concepts of the notion of stigma.

This film is of historical interest and reflects the cultural attitudes, medical procedures and language of the time it was made. The imagery and film quality are not to modern standards. But the issues raised are timeless.

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