Why Representation Actually Matters
In 2016 women made up less than one-third of protagonists in top movies. In 2015, just over a quarter of speaking roles went to people of color in 2015’s top movies. Black, Asian and Latin actors were completely left out of acting categories in the Academy Awards in 2016 and 2015. The study, titled "Inclusion or Invisibility? Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity in Entertainment," found just one-third of speaking characters were female (33.5 percent), despite the fact that women represent just over half the population in America. Just 28.3 percent of characters with dialogue were from non-white racial/ethnic groups, though such groups are nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population.
You're probably reading this thinking well how does this effect me? Take a second to think about when you were a child watching television and if you've seen someone that looked like you. If you got that luxury, think about how that made you feel. Were you inspired? Did you feel like you could do something amazing in the world? And if you didn't see representation on television, how did that make you feel? Did you feel like it was less likely that you would live out your dreams?
What you endure as a child has such a huge impact on who you become as an adult. One of the main reasons I wanted to enter the media field is because I realized how much television effects us. The standards of beauty and success is determined by what the media puts out into the world. Growing up I didn’t see many people that looked like me on magazine covers, television shows, and music videos. If I did see someone that looked like me they were always depicted in a negative way and I just didn’t understand that. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized who was pushing this narrative. I believe that it's my job and others that look like me to change the way we are seen. We also need more diversity in the leading roles of these media and television companies. No one can tell our story like we can.
Seeing television shows like The Cosby Show let me know that I too could be educated and raise my future children in a two parent household. That may seem so small to others but when these things aren't your norm it's a big deal. It all starts at home by teaching your children about loving theirselves and being comfortable in their skin.
Join me in my devotion to changing the narrative and celebrating our culture!