Disney+’s Hawkeye Is Being Celebrated By Fans For ‘Realistic’ Representation Of The Deaf Community

Jeremy Renner on Hawkeye
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Diversity and inclusion is a huge topic in media today and, while many might agree that Hollywood has been a bit slow to really be inclusive, there is clearly an effort being made today to try and make the world on screen reflect the world of reality a little bit more. And this doesn’t just include representation of race, gender, and sexual orientation, but also disability. Marvel Studios has been doing a lot to improve its diversity, and the deaf community is very happy to see itself represented, and represented well, in Disney+’s Hawkeye

When we meet Clint Barton in Hawkeye, we see that the man is now wearing hearing aids. Due to his years as an Avenger, and being an otherwise mortal man, his ears have taken significant damage and now, without his hearing aids turned on, the man basically can’t hear a thing. This is something much of the audience understands

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If you have any hearing loss, or know somebody who does, then you’re probably familiar with some of the elements that have been depicted in Hawkeye. It can be a frustrating struggle for everybody involved to try and communicate.

And generally speaking we don’t see these sorts of honest depictions of disability on screen, and we especially don’t see them in superhero movies. The characters are supposed to be larger than life, that’s part of what draws us to them. At the same time, seeing them struggle with something that actual people struggle with, and still be heroes, is something that can be important, especially for younger viewers.

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It’s one thing to include this representation in major blockbuster projects like the Marvel Cinematic Universe at all. At the same time, if it’s not handled well it can feel like tokenism or pandering to the audience. It seems that for the most part the deaf community is applauding the story and the characters in Hawkeye. Clint Barton isn’t simply a character wearing hearing aids throughout the series. His hearing loss is a plot point and it is dealt with regularly through the story.  

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And Hawkeye himself isn’t the only character who deals with this issue on screen. The newest episode of Hawkeye introduced the character of Maya, who we already know is being brought into the MCU here, ahead of her own Disney+ series, Echo. We already know that series is coming and fans are clearly loving this character.  

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From the character diversity in movies like Shangi-Chi and Eternals (which also included a deaf character) to Hawkeye, Marvel is certainly doing its part to broaden its on screen representation, and those people most impacted by it are appreciating the work. 

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.