Today’s generation is a colorful one. The LGBT community is now recognized and accepted in various countries. Patriarchy is slowly being phased out through feminism. Skin color is becoming less of a difference but a symbol of beauty all thanks to the promotion of racial equality. People with disabilities are seen as equals and highly efficient giving them equal opportunities as everyone else. Racial slurs and stereotypes are being torn down and erased bit by bit. It’s not an easy street, but we are getting there. We cannot deny that there is still struggles and challenges.
However, this equality is seen more of as an opportunity by the media industry. They tend to use the groups mentioned above as two-dimensional characters to bait the audience with the same interest in order to gain views and attention. Forcing it into the narrative (and borderline stereotypical) to show representation. They show no character growth or development- making them bland and uninteresting. Either labeling them as such to say there is “representation” but to no avail or making the character radical and shoving their ideologies to the audience.
Unfortunately, an example of which is Dreamwork’s Voltron, Legendary Defenders, halfway through, with no implications or build up, they reveal that Shiro as homosexual because… why not? Another example is, Paramount’s remake of Heathers, using a plus size woman, a black woman, and a homosexual as the titular “Heathers,”. There is nothing wrong with it to be honest, but they are the only nice thing they had to offer. They were used to get attention and to make an excuse not to be loyal to the source material. At some point, the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina gives off strong feminism and sociological issues, but it fails to deliver it- just a half bake indication that they fight for it. These are only a few examples of baiting the viewers.
The viewers are forced to digest their drives and motives- instead of being encouraged, they are turned off. Worst-case scenario, they receive the wrong idea and live off believing it.
All of a sudden, it became a norm to show representations even if they do not really show any. This is problematic since it doesn’t aid to equality or acceptance being fought. The problems and issues are simplified or pushed overboard portraying a pinch to no realism, even with the help of symbolism or allegories. As the story progress, it just becomes a short subplot and never tackled again- just to say that they care about it. To some industry, the LGBT community, feminism, and racial issues are nothing but a trend everyone rides on. Profitability is the priority, not representation.
Even with this, we cannot deny that there are shows that make great representations and embodies it perfectly. The shows that utilize their characters smoothly and correctly. Props to them. It shows that there are people who care and wish to achieve the equality they sought.
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