Representation In The Film : The Importance Of Representation In Film Essay

Representation In The Film : The Importance Of Representation In Film Essay

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Representation in film is important – that’s obvious. For starters, it promotes the acknowledgement of people of color and cements our place in society – it removes the frequent erasure of the ‘other’ through white washing and cultural appropriation. Secondly, it encourages minority children to dream, reach bigger, soar higher – seeing yourself on the big screen helps you feel comfortable in your skin, comfortable in your identity, and most importantly, influences people to find beauty outside of the Eurocentric norm. Representation benefits us all – it breaks down stereotypes and teaches people about humanity.

Yet, we find that representation in media – specifically in women of color – is severely lacking. Out of the top 100 films of 2016, 47 films didn’t include any black women. We need to do better.

The overwhelming fact is that white people – particularly white men – are still the startling majority of leads in film. That could be due to the lack of diversity within Hollywood executives and the disheartening ratio of white male directors to every other gender identity and race. The numbers are baffling: in a study of 376 feature films done in 2013 and 2014, 82.4 percent of directors were white males, followed by 11.2 percent of directors being minority males, 5.1 percent of directors being white females, and a measly 1.3 percent of directors being minority women. (And in 2015, out of 120 directors of feature films, 5 were women and none of them were women of color. LINK: https://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Movies/2017/0731/Women-and-minorities-still-underrepresented-in-film-new-study-shows) As for Hollywood executives, the Washington Post’s analysis of the 2015 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences found that 287 ...


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... at NASA during the Space Race, starred Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, and Taraji P. Henson as it’s leads and was the 14th highest grossing film of the year. In a study done by the CAA (or the Creative Artists Agency), “found that the most successful films at the box office had a relatively large share of nonwhite viewers — of the top 10 grossing movies in 2016, 47% of the opening weekend audience (and 45% in 2015) were people of color.” The financial successes of diversity should be enough to persuade Hollywood to strive to make Hollywood a more inclusive space.

Films like Girl’s Trip and Hidden Figures are just the tip of the ice berg. In order to progress, we need to see this diversity more frequently – so frequently that it just becomes the norm. If we can promote more diversity in media, perhaps we can begin to lessen the racial divide throughout the country.

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