STAMMA, the British Stammering Association, marks International Stammering Awareness Day on October 22nd with the launch of a petition and supporting film calling for people who stammer to be visibly and authentically portrayed in the media.
The comical film, Not Just One Day, follows the inner monologue of someone who doesn’t really believe in petitions, and finds them mostly vague or unrealistic, with the one exception being the new petition from STAMMA, which provides a focused and actionable change.
The impactful work was created by brand and customer experience agency VMLY&R London and London-based film collective Acid News, with both teams containing talent who stammer. The film is voiced by a long-standing member of STAMMA, Paul Roberts, who has never been contracted for voiceover work before.
Between 50-70 million people around the world stammer, including the president of the USA. 8% of children will stammer at some point in their lives, and between 1-3% of adults say that they stammer. Yet in the media, stammering is rarely heard and when it is, the person’s stammer is often portrayed in a negative light or to comedic effect.
"It is time to end the zero visibility of stammering. Until we hear and see people who stammer in the media, people will continue to respond inappropriately when they hear someone stammer. This is a legacy we can't leave our children," said Jane Powell, CEO, STAMMA .
The petition, which has launched on change.org, is aimed at eleven major media agencies and calls upon them to ensure that people who stammer are represented across all media channels.
“I can’t remember the last time I heard someone stammer in popular culture without it being their defining trait. So, when STAMMA called I got excited. Then, as a man in his mid twenties, I thought about how much I hate petitions. So we made a film about the overpromise of most petitions... And how the humble and simple ask from STAMMA’s digital piece of paper will actually make a big difference.” added Daniel Liakh, creative, VMLY&R London.
“⅓ of our team have a stammer, so we couldn’t say no to this fun and worthy project. Protect the fish and don’t forget the hashtag,” commented Acid News.
In addition to the film, STAMMA has released a series of interviews asking people when was the first or last time they saw someone on TV who stammered, or when they saw someone on TV who wasn’t talking about their own stammer, making it the focus of the conversation.
Over the next year, STAMMA will track how the media will include disfluent voices in their programming and what efforts they take to ensure that stammering is accounted for in all their recruitment and HR policies.