The Impact of Representation
As a child, I could not find myself reflected in any of the Saturday morning cartoons I watched religiously or on the silver screen. Even then, I should still count myself lucky since the only portray of Asian women during that time were either as the fierce dragon lady dominatrix or various versions of the submissive Geisha girls.
In last week's post, I briefly described how the portrayal of Tony Stark's panic attack gave hope to a ten year old little boy suffering from a severe anxiety disorder. Iron Man 3 showed him that he could be a hero and that even heroes have bad days. What kind of message would have the dragon lady or the geisha girl, which are both sexually fetishized portrayal of Asian women, told a ten year old girl who was desperately searching for a hero the same way the little boy was looking for his?
Media representation and inclusivity matters--even more now than ever as we enter an age where people can be connected to each other instantly across the globe. We are no longer creating or designing things for an audience that fits a certain description to a T but rather people from all walks of life. Diverse media representation means inclusivity which means pulling up an extra chair so that we may all sit at the table.