The world of media can be a scary and overwhelming place.
In the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in representation of people from marginalized groups in media – specifically, increased visibility of people who identify as LGBTQ+, People of Color (POC), and women. This is fantastic because it provides more positive and realistic examples of people who have been traditionally underrepresented or misrepresented in media.
We need to see more representation in media because it has innumerable benefits for society as a whole. When we read about fictional characters or watch TV, we are learning about someone else’s experiences, struggles, joys, and tribulations. Seeing these things positively represented in the media helps us grow as individuals and understand that there is more to this world than what meets the eye.
One of the most important things representation in media can do is help people realize they’re not alone. Seeing someone who looks like you, has a similar background as you, or who has experienced the same struggles as you can have a powerful impact. It allows you to realize that you are not alone.
For example, if you are a Transgender person, you might feel alone because you don’t often see other Transgender people in the media. However, if you see a Transgender person in a positive light in the media, you know that you aren’t alone and that there are many people out there like you.
Another thing representation can do is foster understanding and tolerance. If a person reads a book about the experiences of a person of color, for example, they are gaining a better understanding of what discrimination and bigotry those groups face on a daily basis.
This level of understanding helps eliminate a lot of misunderstandings and shows people that they have more in common with others than they may have previously thought. It can also lead to an increase in sympathy. If a reader or viewer can relate to a character they’re reading or watching, they are likely to be more empathetic towards their struggles.
When we see positive representations of different identities in the media, we begin to reshape the way we think about identity in general. For example, if you are a cisgender female, you might have thought that you have nothing in common with a transgender male. However, after seeing transgender men positively represented in the media, you may realize that you have more in common with them than you previously thought.
This has the potential to create a more inclusive and tolerant society. It can help break down stigmas, stereotypes, and harmful preconceptions about different identities that are often presented in an extremely negative light in the media.
A good representation of different identities can actively help to solve stereotyping and discriminatory behavior. For example, if you are reading a book about a black person and they are shown as intelligent and ambitious, this can actively challenge the stereotypes that are often assigned to black people in the media – such as being lazy or unintelligent.
When we see groups positively represented in the media, it can help change the harmful and hurtful perceptions that are often associated with them. It can also help people who are in those groups feel more included and confident in themselves.
One of the most important aspects of representation in the media is that it can help show that more than one story or culture can be visible at once. In the past, one group or culture was often shown in the media at a time. For example, if a book was set in India, no other culture would be shown. However, now, we are beginning to see multiple cultures being portrayed in the media at the same time.
For example, if a book is set in India, we will see other cultures and groups that are part of Indian cultures such as Hindus or Muslims. Suddenly, the stories of multiple groups and cultures are being told at once, which creates a much more realistic and inclusive representation in the media.
It is clear from the discussion above that representation in media is important and that it has many benefits. When we see people who look like us, who have similar experiences as us, or who belong to groups that are often marginalized or misrepresented, it can be very empowering and can help us feel included and understood.
In order to create a more inclusive and tolerant society, we must foster understanding of different groups and challenge the harmful stereotypes and preconceptions that exist around them. Representation in media can help us do this by showing more than one culture and story at once, actively challenging discrimination, and helping us realize that we are not alone.
This is why Black Illustrations have created beautiful and diverse illustrations featuring Black people. So go ahead and check out our collection of Illustration Packs.
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