Just recently I’ve been beginning to realize the effect that media representation, or a lack thereof, has had on me. It’s something a lot of people take for granted and therefore fail to consider. Writing and film are two things that mean more to me than nearly anything else; whether it’s consuming media or creating it, stories are and always have been very close to my heart.
It’s through this that I understand how influential themes in media are to our daily lives. We look to figures, real and fictional, to tell us how to act or what/who we can be. We look for meaning in the pages of books just like we do in our lives. The things we see and the lessons we learn are carried with us- consciously and unconsciously.
Growing up, I wasn’t fortunate enough to see a happy ending for myself in the art I held most dear. Instead, I’ve seen myself buried. Erased. Silenced. Beaten. Bullied. Mocked. Ridiculed. Used. In most cases, I haven’t seen myself at all. I didn’t have a model to frame my idea of content on- in fact, I have trouble picturing my happy ending to this day. But I’m trying.
Marginalized groups shouldn’t have to write ourselves into stories. We deserve to grow up feeling validated and seen. We deserve to see ourselves happy on a TV screen and find comfort in the knowledge that, despite all we go through, fulfillment is in our future. It’s there, right in front of us. We don’t want to see ourselves hurt again. We already deal with that enough.
Happiness is in all of our futures. If you’re reading this and you only take away one thing, please remember that. <3