To See and Be Seen

Imagine viewing a show far removed from your comfort zone or interests because you had been searching for months or years, and it was the only one, or one of a small handful of options, that had the exact plot line you hoped for. Perhaps this occurred because it portrayed it well, or maybe happened to include it at all. Such is the life of at least a portion of the marginalized around the world, who aspire to see themselves in all forms of media, including television or movies.

While I know I cannot speak for anyone other than myself, as a person who is a part of the LGBT+ community, up until the past few decades alone, an infinitesimal blip on the life span of chronological time, there were slim pickings for content that did not demean who I am, or exclude me at all. Furthermore, despite inclusion within certain current series or films, there have still been cases of mediocre or damaging forms of diverse representation for the sake of feigning relevance or enlightenment. It is disheartening, and depending on the character depiction, can be dangerous to our community, or others that I am not a part of, as a whole.

To add insult to injury, there are certain shows or movies that have committed egregious acts, such killing off the single person of color or queer character, as well as, queer baiting the audience to drum up ratings. These sort of habits only add to the dwindling list of media that would have drawn more viewers of all identities and shades, were it not for the fact that the marginalized were treated as no more than token accessories, or punch lines to jokes that only bigots would laugh at.

Nevertheless, since the turn of the century, and certainly within the last decade, there has been progress. But, to those of us who are similar, but have separate experiences, depending on who we are, the options may still be limited. Whether that be because of sexual orientation, gender identity, or skin color, despite the advances that the film and television industries have made, there is room for much growth.

To be seen in media is to be seen by the world. By the deliberate exclusion of those of us who have been relegated to the blanket term of “other” or “wrong” by society, this can be isolating, when it seems on all fronts elsewhere, we are already fighting to be heard by those who do not understand or care about us to begin with. In the future, I look forward to reaching a point where those of us who hope for our own brand of good representation, will not be forced to watch something simply because that is all there is to choose from.

One thought on “To See and Be Seen

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