Diversity In Media: It's Not A Bad Thing
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Diversity In Media: It's Not A Bad Thing

It's not "forced representation", it's just people existing!!!

Diversity In Media: It's Not A Bad Thing
Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

In today's world, television and movies are more diverse than ever before. I believe that it should go without saying that this is a good thing, but some people do not seem to understand the notion that seeing more types of people than just straight white men does not make it forced. This concept of "forced representation" seems to be showing up more and more every day, because apparently people just want to see more of the same in TV and film instead of something new.

All jokes aside, it should go without saying that representation in the media is extremely important and a lack of representation could also be extremely damaging, especially for young women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. People find comfort in seeing characters that look like them or that they can relate to on a personal level, and it can also give them a sense of validation in their identity. More and more different identities are being shown in the media every year, which can result in people becoming more educated and hopefully tolerant of the groups that are being portrayed. It is also extremely important that the representation being shown is accurate, because so much damage can be done when harmful stereotypes are perpetuated in the media. Luckily, that is slowly but surely becoming less of a problem, at least in much of the mainstream media.

But there are those that believe that the film industry is forcing this representation, that the demographics being portrayed simply do not take up enough room in the population to need to be portrayed. Either that or a movie's PR team goes above and beyond to say "Look at how much representation our movie has!" (which is admittedly counterproductive) so they target their advertising techniques, once again stating that the representation thrown in this movie is "forced." And to that I say, how can people just existing possibly be forced? What harm is posed to audiences by seeing someone different from them onscreen? The way I see it, diversifying the film and television industries has far more advantages than disadvantages.

In terms of present-day examples of how harmful this ideology can be, we have the premature "review bombing" of Marvel's "Eternals." The film features one Marvel's most diverse casts and consequently, characters. The ensemble includes characters of multiple different races, ethnicities, disabilities, and sexualities, which was more recently revealed than anything else. There are some who feel like Marvel and director Chloé Zhao are forcing a kind of agenda with the diversity in this film, specifically with the introduction of Marvel's first gay superhero, Phastos, who is already married and has a child in the film. In retaliation to what they believe to be more "forced representation," a large group of unruly IMDB users review bombed the film. Review bombing is when a group swarms any sort of online reviewing forum with negative reviews to negatively affect a film's ratings. IMDB has since taken action in preventing more review bombings from occurring, but this just goes to show how far some people will go to prevent more diverse films and series from succeeding.

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