Beautiful woman


Cerrie Burnell is beautiful. She looks younger than her 32 years, which is a good thing for a presenter of telly for 4-6 year olds. She was born with her right arm ending just below the vestigial elbow. When she started presenting CBeebies, there were complaints that a disabled woman should not be doing this job. How do you explain to children that someone has no arm? Disabled people should not be seen or heard.

Standard issue lesson: celebrate people for who they are, what they can do, rather than judging them for what they cannot. What they cannot do is not useful information. But have a look at this Sky article. While it rightly gives the answers from disability charities, the BBC and Ms Burnell herself, the main picture it prints is head and shoulders, so that its more delicate readers will not see the Arm. It prints the above picture, lower down the page, and much smaller.

I suppose it helps that she is very pretty. These presenters tend to be pretty. More than one difficulty to overcome in getting this job might have been too much. We are only making the progress we are making. So- is it not wonderful that she is so visible? Even if that is not her intent, she widens public acceptance of difference.

That is what I want. Simply to be, without that self-consciousness, the internal nagging voice saying “What will people think?” which always misjudges what they actually think.

All comments welcome.

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