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to think that "The Undateables" is voyeuristic and wrong?

(215 Posts)
Bogeyface Tue 22-Jan-13 00:39:19

I have only watched part of one show as H put it on, I watched some of it and left the room in disgust. Am posting this as a trailer just reminded me.

Last week a young man with ASD was on there, and because he didnt understand how to behave or what to do when connecting with other people, his mum had texted him some tips. He memorised them and then did his best. It was horrible. He got it very wrong at times, and my heart went out to him because he was trying so hard. He was on a date with a young lady with learning issues and they were struggling to relate to each other.

Now dont get me wrong, I think that any programme that highlights the difficulties that anyone with (forgive me) "difficulities" faces is a good thing, but this wasnt presented like that. It was, to me at least, presented as "lets laugh at the thickos"

I have a son with cerebal palsy who I thought for years would never have an adult relationshp, so I accept that I may be very biased, but it just feels very wrong to me. Not the concept so much as the presentation.

PS DS is about to move in with his NT GF, who is wonderful and adores him but she doesnt take excuses and has taken him from a "I cant help it, I am disabled" teen into a "I am disabled, but thats your problem not mine" adult smile

ShamyFarrahCooper Wed 23-Jan-13 15:04:20

Watched last night and I didn't think it was voyeuristic at all.

I was really shocked to hear how Damian's confidence was knocked because of how people reacted to his condition. I was also surprised when his dating agent said it would be 'really difficult to find him a match given how he looked'.

I loved seeing how happy Oliver was, which stemmed from doing something he really didn't want to. I thought he was really brave.

Kate was just a bundle of smiles, infectious ones.

I like the programme and would be quick to complain if I felt they took advantage

BooCanary Wed 23-Jan-13 15:10:05

I'm torn about this. On the one hand I think the title is designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator, and hints at 'freak show' documentary.

On the other hand, I must admit, after catching a few minutes of the first episode, I have been hooked. I have almost zero experience of SEN and the majority of disabilities (although my DM is disabled, so I like to think I have some understanding of the challenges). I regularly hear about ASD on MN and I really had no idea what it actually meant in practice IYSWIM. Watching the couple of blokes on Undateables with ASD has been a real eye opener, and I feel it has increased my understanding no end.

Granted, the programme title is deliberately provocative, but take that away, and what is the real problem? What mainstream programmes even feature disabled people (apart from the odd wheelchair bound person in soaps now and again). i think we need to be very clear about whether it is uncomfortable viewing because it is deemed exploitative, or is it because we find SEN and disability inherently uncomfortable.

Spero Wed 23-Jan-13 17:27:08

BooCanary - completely agree with your last sentence. That is exactly what is going on.

I am afraid some of the Twitter stuff has made me heave - lots of 'o! aren't they sweet!' which frankly is not much better than the more usual kinds of abuse. They aren't 'sweet'. They are people who want what almost everyone else wants - someone to love.

I am always surprised that the able bodied are so 'shocked' that disabled people get rejected in terms of love/sex. I always get this from my friends - I can't believe anyone would be put off by your disability! Are you sure?' Er yes. I then ask them how many disabled people they have been out with/had sex with.

Answer - none.

Punkatheart Wed 23-Jan-13 17:51:43

Yes I can understand that it sounds patronising - but I have described non-disabled people as sweet. I have friends who are 'sweet.'

One friend who has a disability - deafness - has had terrible experiences with dating. People lack patience with her and one even RAN when he saw the hearing aid. Charming.

Spero Wed 23-Jan-13 18:03:38

I have just read the excellent 'Examined Life' by Stephen Grosz and he describes the woman who called her husband 'sweetie' as using 'sugar coated contempt'

I agree. Puppies and babies are 'sweet'. To say 'aaaaah, look at that sweet disabled person' I find monumentally sick making.

It's not 'sweet' to be disabled.

Spero Wed 23-Jan-13 18:05:07

How interesting, after typing out 'sweet' several times, it has now lost all meaning and seems like a nonsense word.

Bogeyface Wed 23-Jan-13 21:57:59

To make it clear, it have a disabled child, I dont have a problem with SEN or disability. I feel that this programme is exploitative.

Bogeyface Wed 23-Jan-13 21:59:05

Oh and my son isnt "sweet" he is a stinky lazy pain in the arse, who I happen to adore because he is my son! Goodness knows what his GF sees in him though, she assures me he showers daily, so just goes to show that love can perform miracles grin

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 23-Jan-13 22:00:59


threesocksmorgan Wed 23-Jan-13 22:05:17

"The title was decided by the people who were featured in series one, so how can it be offensive to others on their behalf?"
unless I am wrong it is a programme about disabled people and dating.
not a mixture of nt/sn.
so i couldn't give a flying fuck who thought it up, the title makes it sound like a programme about people who are un dateable.
my dd might be disabled but she is not undateable

pigletmania Wed 23-Jan-13 22:09:08

How is it exploitive op. wuld yousaytat if it featured nt people talking about dating hmm. The majority believe that it is factual and educational

MrsKeithRichards Wed 23-Jan-13 22:31:55

I was watching this in bed last night when my ds came through. He's 7. He watched the second half with me and do you know what he commented on?

How he didn't like the lip piercing on the woman who was on a date with the man who had the albino condition.

Spero Wed 23-Jan-13 23:16:10

If the adults who have consented to be on the show, don't find it exploitative, that is good enough for me. There is enough unnecessary paternalism directed at disabled people as it is.

pigletmania Thu 24-Jan-13 00:19:41

Nt people fluff up their lines in dates, and have desasterous dates, no different IMO. the people chose to take part, I am sure They.they are capable of making tat decision. It was lovely, the people on it wanted to date people not just looks but personality and because they liked them not because of how they look. I don't see how it was exploitive at all. Actually it gives many people on here with chidren who have disabilities that they can have relationships, they can have independent lives.

They are not children but adults with real adult feelings, the programme makers handled it well. Whatwould have been crass if they had come Dine with me jokey commentary poking fun, but they did not. Nobody I knew was laughing at te programme.

PariahHairy Thu 24-Jan-13 00:30:12

The thing that stood out to me was the work colleague of the Lady with Down Syndrome, he said "Oh yes, She is just like everybody else" I'm sure the poor guy was just trying to appear tolerant and pc on TV, he most likely is very tolerant and lovely. But by saying that, he basically said "I recognize that she has a disability, but it's an acceptable disability because she can function in normal society"

That is the impression I got anyway, that lady did seem very vulnerable to me, she was just looking for A MAN any one that would have her, which is never a good idea.

pigletmania Thu 24-Jan-13 00:35:58

Pariah i am sure he meant well, many people have those sort of stereotypical views. She seemed a bit desparate but Mabey it's because she had not been in a relationship for a while

bottleofbeer Thu 24-Jan-13 00:36:56

Maybe he is just tolerant and having been asked, he honestly answered that "she's just like everybody else".

There is a possibility he does feel that way and wasn't trying to be PC.

This place is choc full of forced political correctness if you ask me.

AmIthatWintry Thu 24-Jan-13 00:59:57

I watched the first series and can still remember some of the participants.

I did see some of it last night and thought it was fine, not uncomfortable at all.

I have worries about my DD and how she will cope with relationships when she is a little older. I could see so much of her in Oliver.

And when he smiled at his new girlfriend, the look of joy on his face, as he had managed to achieve what *he *wanted to........well I thought it was wonderful

TroublesomeEx Thu 24-Jan-13 08:39:46

spero My daughter has hearing aids and tbh the scenario you describe with people avoiding her because of it when she is older did concern me.

However, she's really proud of them at the moment (she's 6) and tells everyone she's deaf (she's not really it's mild/mod loss). And although I've seen people looking, no one appears to have treated her differently.

I've now decided that as she gets older they will just become a bit of a twat filter when it comes to dating!

mrsjay Thu 24-Jan-13 08:42:28

I know 5 deaf people folk all been married are married or have relationships I am sure your dds and her twat filter will be fine grin

TroublesomeEx Thu 24-Jan-13 09:00:51

Yeah I'm sure she'll be fine too MrsJay. But thanks for the reassurance grin

Spero Thu 24-Jan-13 09:09:47

Folkgirl, please don't worry for your daughter. Her disability is not so 'visible' as to cause real problems on the dating scene and as you say will work as a very effective twat filter.

But I do find it very naive and annoying when people deny that I have had any problems - surely not! they seem to think they know better than I do how my life has been, even though they don't mix socially with any disabled people and they certainly don't fuck any.

My disability - artificial leg - is visible and also perceived as quite comical. a lot of my friends joined facebook groups saying they hated Heather Mills and I had to point out that some of the most vile and horrible things were directed against her artificial leg - the one thing she had no control over!

I was verbally and physcially abused all throughout primary school but luckily for me I was the kind of child who physically fought back.

having an artificial leg has most definitely and without doubt made me 'undateable' in the eyes of many. They don't want to stop and get to know the 'real' me as they can't get past the limp.

And I think a lot of this is just fear and ignorance. So I say, shine a light on it. If the participants were happy to do the programme, respect their decision.

ajandjjmum Thu 24-Jan-13 18:06:49

DS was born with a cleft lip and palate, and like you, we worried about the impact it would have on his friendships and social life.
He is nearing 21, has the most fantastic group of friends who seem to totally disregard his cleft, a very beautiful gf who loves him nearly as much as I do, and if anything, it has acted as a bit of a 'twat filter' as you suggest. Occasionally he's had to cope with the odd bent nose comment, but has treated those people with the contempt they deserve.
We always encouraged him to talk to people, and if asked, be completely open. We also made sure that he interacted with strangers from a young age ('go and ask the lady how much that costs' sort of thing), so that his confidence in communicating with others hasn't been a problem.
Good luck to your DD - and good for her being proud of herself!

SigmundFraude Thu 24-Jan-13 18:17:56

It was a thought-provoking programme. I don't know anyone with SN, so it's not something that crosses my radar. I didn't particularly feel that was voyeuristic, it was reasonably sensitive.

Owllady Fri 10-Jan-14 12:13:57

I love it. I am very involved with the world of special needs for various reasons and I can't see it's patronising to the people involved at all. It depicts them in their own light, as individuals like everyone else. A life worth living, one with joy and sadness, personalities and feelings.

If morons at work, on Facebook think it's a comedy, get new friends! Wankers

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