Help(less) Emma

After watching this, I am literally sick to my stomach. It’s an utterly deplorable advertisement. It disgusts me that blindness is so often thought of as synonymous with helpless and I said as much on Twitter. (Disabilities in general, for that matter.) But having the Royal National Institute of Blind People perpetuate this myth in their efforts to fundraise?!

Wow just doesn’t seem a strong enough word.

EDIT: There isn’t a whole lot of chatter on Twitter from RNIB about this, but this thread would still be noteworthy regardless.

First, “based on a true story” is not the same thing as “a true story” or “the facts are these.” No matter how close that story is to the truth there is obviously an element of sensationalism added or it wouldn’t be based on anything, it would just be the story. Second, and more important, is the simple fact that presenting blind people as helpless is not only ENTIRELY inaccurate but a disservice to all blind and visually impaired people. This sympathetic view only garners pity, which isn’t helpful to anyone. Defending such an outlook is not the stance RNIB should have; they should be completely ashamed of this advertisement.


  1. I didn’t get helplessness from the video. What I got was “donate money so kids can do more activities.” When the girl called “mummy, mummy” my first reaction was “child trying to sound scared,” not “child sounding helpless.”

    Give it a few days and watch it again. I’m probably missing some things, but you might also be reading more into it.

  2. To me, the ad said, “There are all sorts of things this poor girl can’t do unless we rescue her from this terrible blindness”. The images of pity in here nauseate me, too.

    I equate this with the fluffy guide dog campaigns I sometimes come across. The cuteness of the dogs is all very well, but the positive outcome of having a guide dog is the freedom of movement you can achieve, and the great companionship, in my ‘umble opinion.

    I want all these organisations to do well, being a potential beneficiary, but the way they do it sometimes has me guessing.

    I don’t want people to pity me, I want some equipment that works and doesn’t cost a mortgage, and a transport system that tells me where I am, and all sorts of practical things like that that are of benefit to the whole of society.

    To be fair to RNIB, they have done much better than this many times, and have campaigned on things such as talking buses and social security benefits. Their education and work service is one of their lesser known services, but is very helpful. Let’s keep to stuff we can do, please, RNIB.

Speak your piece!


%d bloggers like this: