The Great British Bake Off made history this year when they welcomed their first-ever deaf contestant, Tasha Stones. This is a huge milestone in deaf representation on mainstream television, especially with how popular the show is.
By showcasing deafness nationally (and even globally) it raises awareness of the deaf community. Tasha’s baking skills also highlight that being deaf or hard of hearing doesn’t hinder individuals from pursuing their passions.
Showcasing deafness on a popular show
Around 4.3 million people tuned into the launch of this year’s show. The GBBO is well-loved and has widespread popularity among people of all ages and backgrounds. Having Tasha as a contestant is a positive way to increase the awareness of the deaf community.
Although her baking skills are exceptional, this isn’t just about showcasing that. It’s about educating viewers on the challenges and triumphs of living with deafness. Her participation has also gone much further than the immediate viewers – it’s being spoken about all over social media and news outlets. This greater understanding is another step towards more inclusive media.
Signing on screen
Tasha is accompanied on the show by her British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, Daryl. He supports her communication with others on the show. The judges also took the initiative to learn a little themselves when they knew she would be a contestant. With over 87,000 deaf people using BSL across the UK, highlighting this British language on a popular TV program increases knowledge of its use.
By being in the spotlight, Tasha and her representation within the deaf community have inspired many other people. The head teacher at the Royal School for the Deaf in Derby has said “Having deaf role models is enormously important for the deaf community and being able to see someone just like them on mainstream television is really inspiring for our pupils”
People are watching her shine on screen and it’s sending a message to other deaf individuals. Her journey shows that a person’s differences do not define their potential or limit their aspirations.
Tasha’s baking skills and her journey so far have shown how strong and resilient she is, in doing what she loves. Competing in a high-pressure environment shows that there’s no barrier to success.
Tasha’s appearance on the Great British Bake Off is a win for her without the trophy (although we’re sure she’d love it). It’s a step forward for deaf representation in the media. It’s shone a spotlight on the deaf community and highlights that deaf individuals can still pursue their passions and dreams.
At Deaf Unity, we believe every single person deserves to be successful. We provide the practical tools and advice to make this possible.
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