The lack of diversity in the entertainment industry is both mind-blowing and very troubling.
Not only should everyone have the opportunity to have characters they can relate to, but it has been proven that exposing our brains to images that contradict stereotypes can actually decrease our implicit, unconscious biases. Being exposed to images that don’t fit traditional gender stereotypes, actually, helps reduces gender biases. We all absorb it, whether or not we’re trying to.
Exposing girls to examples of leadership helps them develop the skills and confidence they need to become leaders themselves in a wide variety of fields. In real life, girls don’t need to be constantly saved, nor will they die if they dare follow their own instinct instead of listening to instructions given by their boyfriends. The problem is if you tell this story often enough, little girls will start to believe it and they will stop trusting their own instinct, letting others make all the decisions.
There has been a lot of progress with casting women as the lead in movies, yet there is a striking issue about the choice of actresses. Most of them are white. Where are all the minorities?
Breaking stereotypes when representing minorities is equally important. We need to see strong, loud, Asian women and less of the submissive shy girl or exotic temptress tropes.
Lack of representation instinctively tells the viewers that these people are less important than their counterparts.
Without equal representation, there are people who are not feeling heard or seen. In a country and the world as diverse and complex as ours, there shouldn’t be any reason why the entertainment industry caters mostly to the white and male.
The media must do better. We, as the consumers, must demand that they do better and raise our voice when they fail to do so.
Some related articles worth a read:
- Riz Ahmed schools us all on why representation matters
- Gal Gadot Show why representation matters
- Michelle Obama explains why representation matters