“Everything Everywhere All At Once’s” sweep of the Academy Awards was a giant win for Pan-Asian representation in American film, LGBTQ representation, and representation of people everywhere who have difficulties with their immigrant parents. Given its Oscar love, this seems like solid proof that people who don’t fall into those categories can still enjoy a film that’s not strictly about them. Something which is obvious to those of us who grew up loving movies even though we’d never even seen a movie that represented our lives, our looks, and our experiences.
People have been watching and enjoying movies that don’t represent them — or even represent them unfairly — since some dude in New Jersey first turned the crank on a movie camera. But there’s something extra special when you really see yourself onscreen — not through projecting yourself onto the experiences of a “universal” protagonist but because the people onscreen actually resemble you and share many of your specific experiences.
This short and sweet post by Parris Page was written 4 years ago but is as true today as it was when Parris was 24 (it had been sitting in my drafts folder all this time and I’d forgotten to post it).
Representation in media is essential. We all like to feel that we can relate to something or someone. We like to know that we are not alone or that we can too be like the lead character in that action movie or YA novel.
For as long as I’ve been alive (24 years to be exact, the last 14 are the years that really matter) I’ve seen movies, read books and played video games, but there weren’t many characters that I could relate to. Every kid (or adult) likes to imagine themselves as their favorite character or superhero. So here are some reasons why representation matters.
1. Everyone should have characters or images they can relate to.
It’s a part of who we are and how we understand ourselves.
2. It helps us to embrace our culture.
Yes, we are told we need to embrace ourselves, but it would be a lot more comforting to see more character portrayals that reflect every culture.
3. There are stories that are missing.
Without representation of all genders, races, sexes, sexualities and body types there are stories that are missing. Without equal representation people will feel like they aren’t heard or seen.
4. It’s realistic.
In the media representation can often be misinterpreted and it’s more realistic to see characters and people who embody us.
5. Because everyone deserves to see themselves in their heroes.
It teaches self love and it feels damn good to see or read about someone like you!
Say what you want, but representation is important and it matters! It may some minor and unimportant to some, but sometimes minor things can cause big outcomes.