WHY REPRESENTATION MATTERS

03 September 2016


It's common sense, right? That we can/should be able to be ourselves, and feel represented in the world around us. But it seems that as more people awaken themselves to this, that it's showing us to what extent the media tries to sell us one particular image. Usually the straight white male, and stereotypes of any race, sexuality, religion, gender or age.

Yes, being a white female, I'm represented here, there and everywhere. Surely, I shouldn't complain about that, right? Even if it's shows having women as window dressing compared to the male leads. Well no, I am annoyed. I want to see women. I want to see POC leads telling me stories that I don't know, showing me the struggles they have within living in this society where the rich white man is basically all the main figures on the chessboard. I want to hear about the lives of those whose religions are cut to shreds by the media and the horrendous stereotypes they throw on them because of people that twist said religion to condone their actions, which is wrong on so many levels. I want to hear what other women around the world deal with when in comparison to them I have it so easy. Even if I don't think that. I want to be educated and find ways that I can try to help and change things in this world. Even if it's signing a petition, or attending an event or debate. Something. 


I want to see real life. I have had enough of seeing the cookie cutter image on TV, that they think we want to see 'perfect' bodies. I, like many others want to see figures like ours on screen. Which actually brings me to a moment that really made me smile in the new Ghostbusters. Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) is wearing a crop top and dungarees. She leans over to pick a bag up and you actually something other than a washboard stomach, you know? SHE LEANS OVER AND HER STOMACH CONTORTS LIKE YOU KNOW...IT SHOULD. I mean, she's got a figure that I would love, but that little moment made me fall in love with the film and the actresses in it more than I already was. And it's also a bit of a pisstake because that highlights just how rarely we see actual 'reality' on screen? (Obviously I don't mean people catching ghosts). But whenever you see someone on screen, it's always created and edited as though the person in the frame always looks like that...and they're not.


I'd like to see films and television shows that present us with women of all shapes and sizes. And that includes those with little bit of a belly because not everyone has a flat toned stomach, or perfect curves, with bags under the eyes and disheveled hair because damn it, even if I wore make up, it wouldn't cover up these bad boys that look like I've grabbed a ton of dementors and carrying them under my eyes. But for real...not done with make-up and all that. I know that for some actresses it may be hard to do that, but baby steps, you know? Actually, that reminds me of Keeley Hawes' role as Lindsay Denton in Line of Duty. In the second series (which Denton is introduced), she wears no make up. Her hair isn't perfect all the time and I bloody loved it. It was one of my favourite roles of hers. Not only because of how she played Denton, but because she didn't have to be dressed up to the nines. This was a woman who in the show is having a crappy time, going through a stressful situation and heaven forbid a woman look anything but how society wants her to! Basically, as someone who doesn't wear make-up, I appreciated it a lot.

Now, I obviously can't speak for POCs, and won't try to because there's no way I can begin to fathom the hell that many go through purely because of the colour of their skin. I find it horrendous that people can even judge others on that? To me, if someone is an asshole, it's because of who they are as a person and their attitude. Not where they were born, their religion, colour of their skin or so many other factors that you cannot change. The fact that Leslie Jones has got hate, death threats and racist remarks thrown her way for being in a film that certain people seem to be hell bent on hating (seriously if you hate it that much, just go and watch the original on repeat, and sit in your mancave alone? Nobody is forcing you to watch the 2016 one...but nobody cares how much you hate it either). It's nice to see #LoveForLeslieJ trending, but something needs to be done! Sure, it's online, but that doesn't make it some separate entity from real life, as it is real life and something needs to be done about it. Yes, you can't censor everything people say, because of free speech and all that jazz. But more needs to be done to try and stop the trolls, racists and sexists before it gets too far.


People will whinge that it's mollycoddling, but is it? Really? I don't think so. These people will hide behind their keyboards, just like I am, but using it to spread negativity and hate. The amount of times I've had someone come into my mentions on Twitter and start calling me all kinds of names, and people seem to think you can just step away from it, and it's all gone. But that's not the case at all. It does get you down... so like many people say - if it's something you wouldn't say in person, then don't say it online. I don't get people's refusal to take on board what someone says.

I'm all for people voicing their opinions and stuff, as long as it's done in a civilised way, you know? I like to think that whenever I have a rant on Twitter, I don't go all out, and have reasons, or explanations to go with said rant.

A prime example of people seeming to be ignorant in learning more about feminism, and just...clueing themselves up more with things, would be in regards to Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer and Taylor Swift with their 'white feminism'. Basically always trying to make anything 'mildly' feminist about themselves, and never doing anything to really help POCs, LGBT individuals etc. There will always be individuals that think they're perfect role models for modern feminism, when I think we should be looking at women likChimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who wrote the book We Should All Be Feminists, and young girls like Rowan Blanchard, Amandla Stenberg and Stephanie Beatriz amongst so many other women. 

People will send articles and examples of when Lena, Amy and Taylor have done or said things that would be seen as benefitting only white women, yet people still choose to ignore it. It bugs me that people say they want to be open-minded yet when that opportunity to learn more about the world around them and the fact that it's not all nice and shiny and that there is a lot of bad in this world that we see and ignore, and also have no idea of...they just don't want to know. I sure as hell know that when I began my blog back in 2014, I didn't really know what a feminist was. Bad, I know. I would have thought it's that bra-burning stereotype you hear. But as I've grown with this blog, and followed more people who are feminists and just...got to know women on social media more, it's expanded my knowledge on it, and to be honest? Knowing myself as well. It's helped me to grow. There's still more to learn, there always is. I'm not going to give myself top marks because I know I could do more to find out more about other women in the world and how their feminism differentiates from mine because of the life they live.

Sorry, but just because you ignore what's going on in certain parts of the world, doesn't make it any less real. People are still dying because of who they happen to love. The lives of black people are being taken because of the colour of their skin by those in power, who are employed to protect the people. Young women are being killed because their family believe that honour killings are deemed more acceptable than their daughter or sister being able to live their life happily, away from arranged marriages

Ki Hong Lee from Maze Runner and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt talks about how he was thinking of changing his name, but he saw Uzo Aduba's interview where she tells a story about her wanting to do the same thing, going to her mother and being told that if people can say the names of people like Tchaikivsky, then they can learn to say hers. And I think that moment in her interview really hit me. Children are growing up in a world that is constantly changing, and they shouldn't have to be worrying about things at a young age! They should be able to live as children and enjoy that time of their life.










There is such a plethora of what should be represented in the media, yet isn't, or is but in such a minute degree that it goes under the rador. Disability is another thing. Nothing I hate more than when an able bodied actor is used to play someone who is classed as disabled. EMPLOY SOMEONE WHO IS DISABLED. If Channel 4 can hire people for the Paralympics coverage, then you can hire people to act in your show or film. Jeez. I've never read Me Before You, but when the film came out I knew there was no way I would go and see it. Yes, I understand they cast Sam Claflin because they probably would have needed to film scenes with him to show how exactly the accident happened. But still, it could have been filmed in a more...interesting way (maybe not see the actors face but cast someone who was similar in build to an actual disabled actor they could have cast). The people are out there, they exist yet are being completely ignored? If you want to educate people to the diversity in the world, then employ those people, let their voices be heard and for others to be able to see themselves represented on screen.

I promise I am near the end of this mammoth post, I swear.

You know what I want? To be able to celebrate and be confident in my sexuality. This sometimes means expressing how a character has helped me to come to terms with who I am, without someone telling me to go and kill myself (yes, this actually happened recently). That's why when something happens on a show I watch which I feel is bloody important in regards to taking a step forward in representation...I'll shout about it from the rooftops on social media, and if you couldn't tell, this post. Last week on a British medical drama, Holby City had two female characters kiss. And they aren't 20 somethings either - it's so refreshing and exciting to see, especially since you know, not all LGBT folk are young'uns. And this got me so freakin' pumped okay? Like, it made me so happy to see these two characters whom I could tell had some kind of spark, actually kiss. So many shows will try and use queerbaiting to gain an audience, yet not have the characters get together, or admit their feelings for one another. Usually it's that, or killing one of the characters off as soon as they are happy - don't even get me started...that would be a whole other post that's just as long as this. From comments I've seen, people didn't seem to realise there was any kind of spark between the two (they must be blind as a bat if they couldn't see the looks and touches between them since one of the characters was introduced). But seriously, it meant so much to me - I'd totally write an essay to Simon Harper, Jemma Redgrave and Catherine Russell on how thankful I am for Berena becoming a thing.

Also, the fact that the actresses and creators of the show are embracing the positivity that's come out of it, and aren't throwing that back in people's faces is just great. (Which can't be said for The 100, when they killed off a major character).




I am positive that I'm not the only one who wants Hollywood, and all media to come to a breaking point soon, and realise that they need to stop pandering to one part of society and start appealing to the masses, which is more than the straight, white individual. Don't they realise how heavily influential they are? And not in a good way. 

Apologies for the mammoth post, but I felt I needed to get how I felt about various forms of representation out...and this is the result.

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