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The Power of Proper Representation in Video Media

Halle Bailey in Disney's 'The Little Mermaid' (Image credit: Disney)
Enter to Win Martin Complete Series on Digital

Proper representation in any sort of media is important but having a distinct character or narrative in videography relating to the audience is incredibly impactful.

Cross-cultural presence in media

Speaking on the importance of proper representation, finding a character upon which you can identify with can highlight the importance of you as an individual.

representation (Image credit: Disney)
Halle Bailey in Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ (Image credit: Disney)

From a global standpoint, the portrayal of other experiences and cultures is eye-opening to the viewer.

The media continues to struggle with portraying relatable experiences. Individuals with a cross-cultural background especially struggle because of how hidden this part of their identity is in relation to something such as race or gender.

How can cross cultural individuals find comfort in an identity that is not visually portrayed?

Importance of representation

With video and film becoming a key component to storytelling in today’s society, the variety of audiences watching has grown with the complexity of a multicultural global population.

Simu Liu in Marvel Studios' "Shang Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings" (Image credit: Disney/Marvel)
Simu Liu in Marvel Studios’ “Shang Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings” (Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

In her article in relation to representation, writer Victoria Huang finds, “it is vital to amplify the voices and share the stories of all.”

Not every individual can share their story, but the underlying experiences that construct someone’s identity can be explored through visual storytelling. And with the overwhelming multitude of identities and personal experiences found in the world, there are massive amounts of stories to be told and explored.

It is meaningful to learn about other cultures, stories and experiences.

Experience with film

Videographer Eric Forbes, out of Fort Collins, Colo., U.S.A., has experience within the field of media, but he feels there is a lack of representation in the mainstream media.

Prior to speaking with him, he lacked knowledge of what the cross-cultural experience is, but with explanation he understood the importance of these individuals. His lack of experience with these individuals reveals how absent their stories are within the media.

The media is highly impactful on those exposed to it, and with proper representation of differing groups, it adds to the importance of their presence.

‘Media has power’

Chadwick Boseman and Letitia Wright in Marvel Studios' "Black Panther" (Image credit: Disney/Marvel)
Chadwick Boseman and Letitia Wright in Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” (Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

“Media has power,” said Forbes. “It is important to have that representation because if it is reflecting the society we live in, it has less of a surface level feeling.”

In the media, it is powerful for individuals to see representation that is related to them, but there is value in the knowledge and understanding people can gain about others. There are so many stories avoided, but they can bridge the gap between people, cultures and experiences.

“It helps with understanding,” said Forbes. “When you can try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you can sympathize with them a lot better knowing what they have gone through. You need to see these different perspectives so that when you come across them, they aren’t so foreign, and you become more accepting.”

Having representation of diverse multicultural experiences on a visual medium creates understanding and spreads knowledge of stories that have previously been under-appreciated and misunderstood.

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2 comments

  1. I believe that representation is key to identifying with others. I agree that it is really important for everyone one to feel represented to feel seen and heard in media. I think about how little representation there is in media for people like me and when I tried to look in to the representation of cross cultural people I realize that is close to none existent. It is really rare that you see a TCK on screen as a matter a fact I can’t recall a single TCK in media. I think that we have to have more open conversation about each other and how different we are so that we can all feel like we are a part of something.

  2. I’ve always believed that representing something such as culture is super important to ensure the information and visuals are as accurate as possible. If something is misconstrued or put into the wrong context issues can occur and it can lead to big social problems. This article helped me dive even deeper into that thinking. By explaining the importance and what it truly represents was very informative. Having experience from Eric Forbes was very credible and even allowed for me to connect with his opinion by demonstrating his thoughts on this topic.

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