Saturday, January 18, 2014

Seeing a version of yourself in popular culture

On January 14, during our first public thinking events of the year, we focused on a prompt based on an article by Alyssa Rosenberg, one of the writers we're covering this semester. 

Here's the prompt:

In her essay “Why I Care So Much About Mass Culture, Including Superhero Movies” Alyssa Rosenberg writes that
When there are comparatively few people who look like you at all in mass culture, and those who do are frequently portrayed as villainous, or weak, or hysterical, or stupid, those moments of safe harbor when you see a version of yourself, or of your experiences, affirmed on screen are genuinely exciting and precious. They’re an acknowledgement that your life exists, and that it’s considered interesting to other people.

What “version of yourself, or of your experiences,” that is not normally seen, would you be excited to see affirmed more in mass culture? 
Samples of the many responses:

• I'd like to be able to admit my love of video gaming and not get strange looks cuz i'm a girl
• I'm transgender (female to male) and would be happy to see a broader range of gender identities affirmed/validated, beyond being the punchline of a joke.
• I'd like to see Asians portrayed in more everyday roles, not stereotypes (i.e. warriors/ninjas)
• More Native Americans
• Women in Engineering
• My Asian culture -- and it's portrayed in movies is sometimes problematic.
• Portrayal of Hispanic people
• girls with weave
• Asian people in modern english movies
• Black women of all colors, shapes, and sizes
• Women more empowered
• Strong super-hero women whose plot and character development has nothing to do with a man
• Hispanic characters that can't speak Spanish
• A person with Asperger syndrome who is not portrayed as if they are the Rain Man.
• An empowered woman
• Asian males (we are not all Chinese)
• black people reading
• Women in a male-dominated field today
• I am very much a tech video game loving girl, and I love seeing that portrayed in movies.
• African Americans being noticed for something other than sports
• I'd like to see more black women in Disney movies

Related: A Notebook on Emily Nussbaum & Alyssa Rosenberg

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