Language (Dis)Ability and Representation.

The T.V. series “American Horror Story” (AHS) is no stranger to controversy and chilling stories. In this post, I will be looking at one of its star characters of the first series, Adelaide ‘Addy’ Langdon, played by actress Jamie Brewer.

Brewer’s character is seen multiple times throughout the series, each time expressing the same desire “I wanna be a pretty girl”. This drives her whole character ark as she sneaks into the neighbour’s bedroom, admires beauty magazines and influences her choice of Halloween costumes.

“One way to work on increasing your sense of belonging is to look for ways you are similar with others instead of focusing on ways you are different.” (Karyn Hall Ph.D, 2019)

Hall’s comment can be seen in Brewer’s character. Due to her differences, she is isolated by her mother (played by Jessica Lang) only letting her out on Halloween when she masked as a “pretty girl”. This horrible representation of societies attitude to people considered different are treated is countered by the relationship between Addy and Violet (played by Taissa Farmiga).

Farmiga plays Addy’ neighbour, however, almost plays more of a ‘sister-role’ to Addy. She treats her neighbour like any other person, looking past what makes her different. The scenes with this kind of interaction are always wanted juxtapositions to the typical dark, gothic shots used through the series. This reflects the positive results made by the acceptance and inclusion of people who are different from ourselves.

Overall, I believe AHS shows a realistic representation of what those with disabilities face in life. The desire to fit in and accepted by others being a large focus of Brewer’s character, she tackles many problems that the ‘typical’ girl would: appearance, love, friendship, and family. For all most of the series, Addy’s disability is not presented by herself, it is presented in how others treat her.


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