Updated: Jun 2, 2020
MOVIES AND TV
Representation has been a greatly discussed topic recently, especially after Sandra Oh's gig as a host for the Golden Globes and her well deserved Golden Globe Award for her role in Killing Eve.
Some movies have recently made headlines for walking the talk when it comes to having a cast diverse either in race, gender or sexual orientation.
Here are a few examples:
In order: Hidden Figures (2016), Moonlight (2016) Wonder Woman (2017), Crazy Rich Asians (2018), Black Panther (2018), Love, Simon (2018)
Have you watched these movies before or have you heard of them?
No matter the answer, it is undeniable that there has been a rise in movies with people of color, women and LGBTQ+ at the forefront being represented properly. Indeed, the main characters do not offer a stereotypical purpose and are multidimensional in all aspects. Such characters, are, in consequence, relatable to the audience by offering a different and layered perspective of an ethnic group, a gender and a LGBTQ+ person to its consumers.
Media that reflects the reality of a multicultural and diverse society sends the powerful message that such characters are important and that being different is and should be applauded. Representation gives not only visibility but also validity to the actors but also to the general public.
These movies are only the tip of the iceberg. Representation has also shown to be important in other spaces.
MEDIA & SOCIAL INFLUENCERS
Media is what we consume on a daily basis through either news or entertainment and where we first see our role models. In these past years, these role models are also found on our computer screen and on our phones. Social platforms have even coined the term 'influencer' to designate the people who, as the title perfectly explains, influence others through their digital content.
YouTubers and Instagramers, for example, are gaining a huge following that is also composed of children and teenagers. Thus, social media has undeniably become a tool to reach and empower many, especially the younger generations. It can even be said that it has a more of a direct influence on its consumers than TV and movies ever have.
Social media has no criteria of admission: anyone can post as they please. Thus, it is home to many marginalized communities. Being free from the unsaid rule of looking a certain way and not being limited in what they create, Instagram and Youtube, for example, have given these communities a unique platform to create content that would not have been aired if it wasn't for the Internet.
Some of the 'influencers' even use these platforms for social justice.
MEDIA & SOCIAL JUSTICE
People are no longer solely relying on politicians to make their voices heard. Through social media, social movements reached more people under a same cause.
The #MeToo and “Black Lives Matter” movements are powerful testimonies of this, where citizens using their voice to denounce injustice.
Words of apologies do not mean much if they are not matched by their actions. And these movements demand more than just a meek sorry but change as well. These campaigns were able to reach millions, and also mold society's views on sexual assault and police brutality towards the African-American community. Picture, videos and words posted online now serve as a powerful tool to bring justice. With everything being so public, people are now more and more being held accountable for their wrongdoings.
REPRESENTATION IN POLITICS
Now, imagine the positive impact seen in the media shifting into politics, where big decisions affect our daily lives. Politicians have a say in policies that are repealed or instated which organizes our society.
Having a representative that understands you because they have thread a similar path as you have or are from the same background is essential when it comes to policy making. Policies should reflect our current society, which is, to put it plainly, a multicultural one.
In fact, in our ever-evolving society that is striving to adapt by countering racial bias and prejudice, inclusion is a goal that needs to be reached. In fact, through affirmative action, it is important that everyone has access to the same opportunities. As such, we should be aiming for a more equal society, where diversity is embraced and protected.
Indeed, holding, not only the people in politics, but also those we follow on social media, and those we watch on TV and in movies, accountable for following through not just with words but with actions remains an important objective.