Representation Matters

by noticingbones

Guess who figured out how to put GIFs on WordPress?  This girl.

I spend a lot of time thinking about representation and the above sentiment a lot lately.

I think this is a good example of how powerful the narratives we grow up absorbing, and continue to absorb and believe are, and how that affects the way we see the world, how we place people (and ourselves) in the world, and who we expect to see (and thus write into our own stories) in certain roles.

This issue with representation extends beyond writing into everything that we choose to create…comic books, paintings, video shorts, video games, and even what we decide to put into our history books.  I can not say it enough:  representation in the media matters.  But what do we do when it we are conditioned to understand how people behave and interact, but only within a certain context and script?

To put it in the context of what’s discussed on this blog, if you grow up with women being portrayed in a certain way, you’re not going to think twice when you write your own story about portraying them that way because that’s just “how women are.”  I could spend all day posting articles about how female characters in stories/comic books/video games/insert desired media format here, start out as something that seems different and awesome, and quickly devolve into sexualized, bikini-armor-wearing, sex objeccts because we don’t know what to do with females in narratives unless they are half-naked or submissive or insert generalized idea of how women in media should be here.  The really sad part is that most of the time we allow it because we are so used to having this done to our narratives that we don’t know where to begin to unravel them and start over properly.

I guess I have just been musing on this a lot, and I wanted to leave this here as a reminder why I started working on this blog in the first place.  I hope that I have been doing a decent job of balancing the narratives I put up here.  I strive to include a diverse set of historical ladies who did/do awesome things.  By the way, if you want to see the rest of this Ted Talk, you totally should.  I will be posting more about the author soon.