Veronica With Four Eyes

Finding Destiny

Inspired by this question- when is the first time you saw your disability in the media? #FirstTimeISawMe

Last summer, my family and I decided to go see the movie Finding Dory. We were visiting a medical center, and it had been a pretty discouraging trip, so we were hoping the movie would take our mind off of things. What we didn’t expect was to encounter a character that was exactly like me…well, if I was a whale shark.

Seeing vision loss in Finding Dory

Finding Dory is the story of how Dory, a blue tang with short term memory loss, goes on a journey to be reunited with her parents. While searching for her parents, she makes many new friends along the way, one of them being Destiny, a whale shark who lives in captivity due to poor eyesight. Dory and Destiny were friends when they were younger, and communicated through the pipes in their respective aquariums. It is unknown if Dory knew Destiny had poor eyesight prior to them meeting face-to-face. However, Dory never makes fun of Destiny’s poor eyesight, and none of the other characters do either. It seems normal to them- likely because whale sharks in the wild also have poor eyesight.

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More about Destiny

Destiny frequently bumps into walls and glass, something I can heavily relate to, having limited peripheral vision and no depth perception. ┬áIn order to help her navigate, she has a friend named Bailey, a beluga whale, who reminds me of my many friends who act as my human guides. Bailey tries to warn Destiny of obstacles, though he doesn’t always prevent her from swimming into them. The movie portrays Destiny swimming into obstacles in a comical way, though my family and I were probably laughing the loudest out of anyone in the theater because it was so relatable. It’s worth noting I am not one to normally get offended over comedic portrayals of low vision and blindness.

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Avoiding stereotypes in Finding Dory

I really appreciated that Disney/Pixar created a character that could still stand on their own, even if their disability was removed. Too many times, characters in media are portrayed as simply a disability, and are a static character without it. Destiny helps Dory tremendously by showing her kindness, and helps her to achieve her goals throughout the movie. She’s not just swimming into walls over and over again- she’s keeping up with Dory and is eager to help. I also appreciated that characters used words like “see” and “look,” and that these words weren’t avoided because of Destiny’s eyesight.

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The character I needed when I was younger

I wish Destiny had appeared in Finding Nemo, because she is the exact character I needed when I was younger. This is one of the first characters I ever encountered with low vision, not blindness, so I was able to easily see myself in her- and so could many of my friends, as they all texted me after they saw the movie saying “loved you in Finding Dory.” When I was asked what Disney character I related to the most, I was able to answer without hesitation that it was Destiny, because of her positive attitude, even with her terrible eyesight. I’d never seen another character I could relate so much to.

So, thank you Disney/Pixar, for allowing me to see a character just like myself on the big screen of a movie theater, something I’d been waiting for, for 19 years. I hope that there continues to be representation of the blindness and low vision community, as well as the disability community as a whole, in future movies, TV shows, books, etc. And if there happens to be a spin-off all about Destiny, I will be the first in line to watch it.

4 thoughts on “Finding Destiny”

  • Hola Veronica! I hope you’re doing well! I found your blog through your twitter! Re: Finding Dori, I love how it normalizes disabilities for those who might not live with someone with one or know someone with them. I found the sequel more enjoyable than the first. I was wondering if you watched the Sofia the First episode called Lost Pyramid? I’m asking bc if you have, that is where you will find my favorite character who happens to be blind. Her name is Cassandra and she’s a archiomagicologist! She uses her skill of reading braille to read glifs in the temples! She’s amazing! When I first watched the episode, I didn’t know what to expect despite having learned of Cassandra’s blindness before hand. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized I could truly relate to her on a personal level. The song Come to Your Senses with me had me in tears for that reason. I highly recommend you look it up on youtube. I’m not sure how much of a Disney lover you are, but I wanna recommend my and my best friend, Rebecca’s podcast to you. It’s called Spirit of Avalor. It’s mostly about Becca and my favorite princesa, Elena Flores from the amazing show Elena of Avalor. But we also talk about other Disney princesas and topics as well. We were blessed to interview Matt Hoverman, the creator of Cassandra. I think you’d like the interview! I love your blog! I’m going to continue to read it!

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