How important is representation in the media to you?

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by SacredWarrior, Dec 28, 2015.


How important is representation in the media to you?

  1. Very important

    4 vote(s)
  2. Somewhat important

    6 vote(s)
  3. Not that important

    8 vote(s)
  4. I don't care

    10 vote(s)
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  1. Since @Brovo did a poll about gender in fiction, I thought I would follow through with one of my own but more broader. What are your thoughts about representation in the media?

    I think it's something that started with good intentions but turned into something bad.

    For example, I had a discussion with a friend with the Mortal Kombat character Jacqui Briggs. She's being portrayed by Pepi Solunga in a new MK webseries called Mortal Kombat Generations. Pepi is Nigerian and Scottish while Jacqui is African-American. My friend complained that Jacqui was being white-washed and after I disagreed with her, she stated and I quote directly from her:

    "I don't give a fuck if the actress's ass is mixed, I give a fuck about how the media still never treats Black characters right and dolling them up to be more accepted by a society that already hates our race."

    I called bullshit on her statement and she just left after saying that I took her statement the wrong way.

    There are tons of ways this representation thing can go badly like the Steven Universe fandom attacking Zaami for her fanart.

    I also find it funny how people like to ignore franchises and movies that ARE diverse and very successful. I adore the Fast and Furious franchise and its cast is VERY diverse. It's also Universal's biggest property.

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens has a diverse cast and so far, it's been VERY successful.

    So maybe representation in the media isn't as big of a deal as people make it out to be? I get where some people are coming from but it's going to levels that it should NOT have gone to.

    That's my take on the subject.
  2. I don't care what so ever.. I rarely even watch tv..
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  3. I was debating between "don't care" and "somewhat important" but I ultimately voted "don't care".

    Because I think it's important for Hollywood as an industry to not be discriminating racist bigots.
    But let's be honest... Protesting that makes as much sense as protesting "Teach men not to rape!".

    Because you're basically just telling them be decent human beings.
    +Hollywood has the special case where if a character is meant to be X race or sex for plot reasons or whatever they do kind of need the actor to fit that part.

    But when it comes to the product itself?
    I couldn't give two shits how diverse or 'pure' the cast is.

    Do they do the job? Do they act well? Did they get the part because they were the best for it, and not because Hollywood went "We need fill dem Quotas!"?
    Yes? Then I'm happy.
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  4. I do think that representation can have some nice benefits, but I wouldn't call it a must-have for a series, and I wouldn't get particularly upset at the lack of it. As I said in Brovo's thread in regards to Steven Universe, this is much more of an icing-on-the-cake thing. But it is some very sweet icing.

    And I think representation is most important in regards to the LGBT+ community and mental illnesses, especially in kids' shows.

    In the case of LGBT+, it's really nice to see that sort of thing normalized for kids. I think the reason why so many adults have a hard time wrapping their heads around concepts like homosexuality and being transgender is because it's so foreign to them. If someone grows up in a world where they only ever see male/female couples and strict gender roles, then anything outside of that norm is going to come off as very strange. And the media does have a significant impact on how people view the world and teaching us what "normal" is. If people, especially children, see same-sex couples in the media, portrayed in a way that isn't blatantly offensive or played up as a joke, then it's easier to see that as normal. And I feel like this sort of thing can be especially helpful to LGBT+ youth, who are just starting to really discover themselves and who might be worried that it's wrong to feel whatever it is they're feeling, and I think that normalizing these types of things can really help these youth feel validated.

    As for mental illness, it's really to help spread more awareness and understanding of a lot of disorders, especially the ones that a lot of people either don't think exist or don't realize just how damaging they can be. Depression is a good example -- it seems like a lot of people just equate depression with being sad and don't realize just how all-consuming or how involuntary it is, and that it isn't some slump that you can get out of if you just ~be happy~. And then there are anxiety disorders, which often just seem to be thought of as general nervousness that can be cured by just getting out of your comfort zone, when really it isn't that simple. OCD is one that's often hugely misunderstood in that it often just refers to being a neat freak, and is usually used more as the butt of a joke than anything serious. ADHD is treated similarly, often just referring to hyperactivity and quirkiness as opposed to anything that can actually create problems in people's lives -- and ADHD is almost always thought of as being something that only affects children and that all children grow out of, which simply isn't true. In all these cases, I feel like a lot of people would have a greater deal of understanding if they saw good examples of these sorts of disorders being represented in the media. If you're going to have a depressed character, make them depressed -- and make sure their depression isn't magically cured just by something cheering them up. If you're going to give a character OCD, then give them actual OCD, and focus on what OCD actually does to people -- hell, go for the gold and give me a messy and disorganized OCD character whose obsession is something completely unrelated to cleaning/organizing. Want an ADHD character? Give me someone who isn't bouncing off the walls and who is instead legitimately struggling with their lack of focus, bonus points if it's an adult. There are lots of really good ways to show a character struggling with a mental illness, especially if you make it realistic enough to be relatable as well as help validate the actual mental illnesses that real people struggle with.

    There's also a lot of good that can come out of race/gender representation, especially in regards to eliminating certain stereotypes, but, these are the two forms that I definitely feel most strongly about. And, in all these cases, I really can't get too mad at a piece of media for not providing awesome representation, because that's sort of the current norm. But, when I do see this kind of representation? It's great, and I really wish there was more of it. Again, I feel like a lot of good could come out of these forms of representation being more common and more well-done. I can't really condemn every single piece of media that gets it wrong, but, I can definitely encourage the ones that get it right.

    Also, as a side note,

    I'd like to say that I feel like this is more an issue with lack of human decency from some people than really an issue that has to do with representation. The representation in the show is great, and in so many different ways. The only reason the thing about Zaami's fanart happened the way it did was because people grew too protective of the show's examples of representation and therefore went on a crusade against any piece of fanart that seemingly reversed what good the show was doing.

    The representation in the show really isn't at fault for what happened -- people who got way too wrapped up in "defending" said representation are what became the problem. And the creators of the show condemned that kind of behavior, so... yeah. The representation in Steven Universe is still great and in no way a bad thing. I guess it was just too good, so good that certain types of people could not at all handle any perceived attempt at that being taken away from them. (Emphasis on "perceived".)

    I'd still hate to see this incident being used as an argument against representation, though. It's just an argument against, you know... bullying people to the point of suicide over fucking fanart of all things. >:/
    #4 Kagayours, Dec 28, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015
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  5. Very. Visibility increases awareness, which counters ignorance.

    I'm assuming ACCURATE representation for this answer
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  6. I wasn't arguing against representation :) I was using that incident as an example of how people take it out of proportion is all ^_^
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  7. Ah, ok. I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page.
  8. Very. Helps make characters more relatable if they aren't straight white people yo. Also, p much everything Kaga said.
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  9. +1
  10. I voted Not Very Important, mostly because I'm a pigment challenged male in a first world country. I can definitely understand how someone who's a minority would like someone of their race or gender to be shown in a positive light as someone to relate to, and I enjoy when casting reflects realistic demographics.

    Only time I take real issue or notice is when you have something like a historical or biblical story set in the Middle East and fucking everyone is super white. Is it so hard to cast people who share the ethnicity of the people who live there?

    I also find it really weird when you have actors like Ben Kingsly playing Gandhi, Mazor Rackham (a Maori character), and a few other ethnicities when he's white.
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  11. It just dawned on me I only addressed actor diversity, not character diversity.

    Character diversity, Kaga gives some good points on how it can be nice to have.
    So I would give it some importance... But only if it actually serves a purpose to the story/plot.

    If they just went "Let's put an autistic kid in there! Because representation!" I would be pissed.
    [2] I didn't even learn LGBT+ was something that existed until High School because no one ever brought it up.

    And this was right the same time I was starting my "Fundamentalist Christian enlightenment" period.
    Fun times...
    Seeing that case as an outsider, I found it what caused it wasn't so much defensiveness but quite simply more bigots (or anti-bigots if we're using SJ terminology).

    Basically, the portion of the fan base who went hostile like that wanted an exclusionary club of their own.
    They just tried to sugar-coat/justify it under the banner of "We're minorities! So we can't be racist, sexist, heterophobic etc!".

    In other words they were bigots who latched onto an inclusive show for all the wrong reasons.
    And got mad when the inclusion part came up in a way that wasn't directly favouring them.
  12. I wouldn't say that. Because it's not as if SU has an issue with white/skinny/etc characters in general (which it has plenty of).

    It was just the act of depicting canonically black characters as white and canonically fat characters as skinny that people got upset about. Even though the show already has quite a few characters who are white/skinny, it was moreso the erasure of minorities that people saw as a problem as opposed to the inclusion of majorities.

    That's not to say that I'm defending anyone involved in the bullying, but, yeah, I don't think it was inclusion that was really the problem. It was more the perceived whitewashing and that sort of thing (again, within the fanart and not even the actual canon...) that people got way too up-in-arms about.
  13. I wasn't saying that either. :P
    My criticism there was strictly at the 'fans' who threw an uproar.
    I know the SU staff were cool.
    That's just the thing though.
    When people make fan-art where characters become black or LGBT no one barges in and claims it's black or gay washing.
    But when it's the reverse? People felt free to go nuts and say such fan fiction shouldn't be a thing.

    Like, if someone got a massive fan base threatening them for making gay fan-fic, would people not call it homophobic?
    If so, I would imagine the reverse could be called heterophobic.

    (Sorry, Egalitarian side is getting out here. When it comes to stuff like this I tend to try observe something, reverse the roles and then ask "if under this light do people react the same?" and if the answer is no... Then something is wrong).
    #13 Gwazi Magnum, Dec 28, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015
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  14. This was definitely something I've been saying for AGES! Double standards galore
  15. Depends.

    for a super magicky fuck logic fantasy thing? Yeah, do whatever you want, even if you want to use only blonde haired, blue eyed, skinny super models. The opposite and a more realistic approach gets the same from me too. "Yep, sure, whatever you feel like" because it's the Creator's choice.

    If it's something more biographical? such as, as Dervish pointed out, portraying Gandhi? then yeah, it's a little more important.

    Overall, I'm personally on the "I don't care" spectrum.
  16. Yeah no, I get that, and I totally agree with you guys about the double standards thing.

    I was only bringing up the representation in the show to point out that people don't really have a problem with majorities being present. It was the erasure of minorities in fanart that was getting people upset.

    Just to clarify what actually went down from a sort of inside perspective.
  17. Really, bullying someone because they did fanart that isn't to their liking is both appalling and despicable really. There's no excuse for it.

    And I've seen the pics myself, they aren't even as bad as the so-called "Fans" made it out to be.
  18. Oh, yeah, I totally agree with you. I wasn't at all trying to defend them. I was just trying to explain what exactly the reasoning for it was. Not that reasoning equals justification, of course.
  19. Oh yeah, definitely, sorry if it seemed like I was saying that.

    Being a person who was bullied myself, I can't stand to see it, no matter the reasoning.
  20. I thought of this a few times before. Mah answer? I don't really care XP I just want the writers to write the story they want with no real limit. Does that mean they can make non-child friendly movies? Well yes, that's what the rating system is for XP If a movie happens to have a cast that I find annoying, then I'd probably just NOT WATCH IT! Is it a good movie? Maybe, but it won't be my cup of tea, no need to try and ban it.

    Four rooms for example. Weirdest movie I've ever watched. IF I ever watch it again, I'd probably skip the first room. But It was their movie to release, and allot of people do like it if I remember correctly, so it's just one of those things where I let be, and it probably won't make it's way back to me other than being mentioned every once in a while.

    Star wars ep 7 is annoying me a bit. JJ is like "Yeah, diverse cast :D :D :D Guys... Guys... Listen... DIVERSE CAST!!!!!!!!!!

    I'm like "Quit acting like it's a first to star wars DX The clone wars has a diverse cast, from what i've seen the old republic games have a diverse cast. Even the original star wars was probably super diverse for it's time XD Even so, you're IN SPACE! You probably aren't gonna have every breed of human out there, or at least where the main characters are focused at.
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