Seeing is Believing

Representation matters because it shapes a person’s perception of others, themselves

Kaitlin Yu, Co-editor in chief

Iron Man. Batman. Spiderman. Captain America.

These four superheroes are loved everywhere across the U.S., and everyone is always awaiting their next appearances.

Yet, what do people see when they watch these characters on screen?

They see conventionally attractive, able-bodied, straight, white people who are glorified and put on a pedestal.

Sure, there’s Black Widow, but her character struggles to even get her own movie.

There’s also Hawkeye, who in the original comics had a hearing disability, which was completely ignored when he was put on the big screen.

Though subtle, by representing majority of popular media with those types of actors or characters, it sends a negative message to minorities.

You are less important.

You are ignored.

You are rejected.

According to a study from the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, only 16.7 percent of roles in Hollywood are minorities even though they make up 40 percent of the U.S. population.

Oftentimes, even when minorities are given roles, their characters are often stereotyped or misrepresented. Not to mention, disabled and LGBTQ characters and actors are rarely shown in a positive, empowering way.

If the characters who portray minorities are served to us as sloppy and 2D, it gives everyone — not just minorities — a negative mindset toward them.

Media provides people’s perspective of the world.

What is shown on screen will influence everyone’s ideas of other people.

Both children and adults look to media for role models and instruction on how they live or see themselves.

How can you dream to be something when it’s never shown to you that you can do it in any way?

How can you believe you belong in a group if it’s never visualized to you?

Media can be something wonderful, where you pour your spirits and feelings into an outlet of creativity.

However, it could be even greater than it is now by welcoming everyone and new ideas into this blend of inventiveness.