Do you see yourself on TV?

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Do you see yourself on TV?

Sky Barratt, Staff Writer

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Let’s be real. We all love watching TV. We mark when the latest episode of our favorite show will be aired and devour season after season of other shows on Netflix in just a sitting or two. We spend half of our summers binge watching some program or another and spring break doing just the same. In fact, according to studies released last year, people 24 and under consume about 27-28 hours of live television a week and on average, Netflix bingers finish a season within four days. In 2017, the hours spent watching live TV are rising and the days necessary to wrap up a season are lowering. It’s a primary part of our modern culture, one that is widely accepted and joked about.

Because TV is an important part of our society, it’s important that TV represents all of society. Media tends to whitewash, casting good looking, white men and women. It’s so common that when a character with Down’s Syndrome, a person who sits in a wheelchair, a black child, or a woman who is the hero of a story appears on the screen, it feels almost foreign. It feels like a deliberate political choice when it definitely shouldn’t be one.

When I saw Wonder Woman, I cried when the camera panned across Themyscira, an island of all women who were fierce warriors, tasked to protect the world of men. It’s a message that isn’t often stressed: women are just as powerful as men, and don’t have to be the damsel in distress or just there to serve as a love interest

 

Media constructs our perception of reality. What we see portrayed on the screens all around us affect how we think. When the media leaves out groups of people, it gives these people a sense of inferiority. By excluding cultures, we point to the ones that we find more important or valid, which suggests that we don’t care about learning about other ways of life. Without representation, we can’t experience different aspects of the human experience that are part of what it means to be human, not just the majority in America.

And this is dangerous, it leads to the same kind of mindset that encouraged white men to raise tiki torches in Charlottesville and declare supremacy. It forces people into categories, tells kids in wheelchairs that they can never be as good as those with legs, or people with dark skin that they can never accomplish as much or are as beautiful as those with lighter skin. It tells women that they exist to be rescued, and tells men that they must always be the hero and can’t show pain. This way of thinking takes us down dark roads.

We need more diversity. We need to see God’s great, expansive creation. We need to see the beautiful cultures that fill our little globe. We need to feel empowered, to be told that we are capable.

And what better way to do so than television, viewed by millions everyday.

 

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