I recently watched an animated short film called “The Last Plaque,” which shares the hopeful vision that one day, we’ll live in a post-psoriasis world. At the start of the short, the words “One day there will be a cure for psoriasis” flash across the screen. Throughout the animated short, Earth’s final plaque floats through a city, over parks, restaurants, streets, and shops. “The Last Plaque” was sponsored by Psoriasis Cure Now and was released on Oct. 29, 2021, World Psoriasis Day.
Although the film intends to rally viewers around the charge of finding a cure for psoriasis, I feel like it misses the mark. The imagined universe features individuals removing their coats without stress, stopping in to shop for swimsuits, going to yoga class, and swimming in a rooftop pool. While these things may be tricky for people living with psoriasis, to depict this as the pinnacle of healing somewhat delegitimizes the suffering people with psoriasis actually experience.
I don’t just want to wear a bathing suit without skin plaques. What about things like freedom from excruciating pain and reversing devastating hair loss from scalp psoriasis? I want these things too. In this way, the animated film failed to educate about the lived experience of having psoriasis and downplayed the reality to simply an issue of dress.
Part of why this disease goes unrecognized is because of how those of us who experience it choose to hide it sometimes. I do believe that increasing visibility will increase efforts to better treat psoriasis. However, this film — perhaps due to its animated design and perhaps due to it not featuring any actual psoriasis, apart from a discretely floating plaque — fails to share any real information about what psoriasis looks or feels like to its sufferers.
I know the film is trying to imagine a world without psoriasis, but, in doing so, it skips over acknowledging the disease in the first place. I would have rather seen real people with psoriasis baring their skin and sharing their stories. This seems far more motivating than the strangely impersonal avatars flouncing around a fictional universe. I am much more motivated by those who share their journeys on Instagram, for example, showing actual pictures of their skin and day-to-day life experiences.
Indeed, we need to increase awareness and research funding for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, but this attempt fell short. Representing the true experience of psoriasis matters. We can do better by elevating real people with psoriasis.
MyPsoriasisTeam columnists discuss psoriasis from a specific point of view. Columnists’ articles don’t reflect the opinions of MyPsoriasisTeam staff, medical experts, partners, advertisers, or sponsors. MyPsoriasisTeam content isn’t intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.