The Misrepresentation of Marginalized Groups
What society views on screen is supposed to reflect its people, but all too often the entertainment and media industries tend to marginalize people of color, women and many others. Films to some extent affect all areas of life in terms of how people view themselves, their lives, and how they see others as well.
Some of the content that these industries distribute to the public remains the only form of representation some individuals see, and these portrayals may be accurate or inaccurate. Over the years, I’ve noticed that Bollywood and Hollywood films seem to have stereotypical representations of characters. Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) populations, class, colour differences and depictions of disabled persons. Seeing a representation of oneself on screen is crucial because society is multifaceted. The continued cycle of excluding diversity, inclusion, and ignoring misrepresentation in the entertainment and media industry showcase the importance of having diverse storytellers, actors, directors, and producers involved both on-screen and behind the scenes.
“Whether its appearing in disparaging roles or not appearing at all, minorities are the victim of an industry that relies on old ideas to appeal to the “majority” at the expense of the insignificant minority” (Horton, Price, and Brown 1999)
With the growth of the television, film and media industry, information has become easily available to millions and “often gives people insights into worlds that are unfamiliar and vastly different from their own,” as it may be their only encounter with that part of society. Therefore, the influence of these platforms has a tremendous responsibility but unfortunately, many of these platforms plague minorities and create and display offensive narratives.
However, some cinematic exceptions do exist: ‘Black Panther’ highlights an all black cast in the most positive light, rather than continuing the cycle of white supremacy, and showcasing the whites dressed as black characters. ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is another notable example of a film that employed an all Asian cast to push it’s story further, in the best possible way.
People feel validated by seeing a version of themselves reflected on screen. The integration of diverse filmmakers, directors, actors, and executives into the entertainment and media industries must increase in large numbers. In order to eradicate the pattern of excluding diversity, inclusion, and misrepresentation, marginalized groups must gain access and have a voice in shaping culture.
On a lighter note, just some underrated movie recommendations for the week-
A cinematic wonder that highlights the prosaic elements of a courtroom victory rather than a romanticized version of the same
A must watch for all those lovers of law out there
· Manorama Six Feet Under(2007)
An unconventional film woven with complexities- This film falls under the Noir genre( a dark film in simpler words), which immediately makes it stand out amongst the usual Bollywood thriller films.
· Do Dooni Chaar(2010)
A realistic family drama couched with elements of humour. A must watch for all age groups!