Mainstream is restrictive


Kate Murray

As shown here, the more diverse your characters are the easier they are to recognize, even when drawn as badly as possible

Kate Murray, Visual Editor

saves the day with the help of a foxy young lady?  Or maybe there are multiple white dudes.  And they’re all straight.  Most of them are middle class, but wait this one’s rich! How’s that for diversity?  One lady and two economic classes!

“What movie are you talking about?” you might ask.  Well that’s the point, I don’t know.  Maybe it’s the Avengers.  Maybe it’s a Bond movie.  Or Guardians of the Galaxy.  Heck, maybe it’s even Star Wars, except that’s not new.  And of course I love all these movies to death, but mainstream media is so reluctant to show diversity that things produced by it tend to blend together somewhat.

Meanwhile if I say, “Have you read that webcomic with the goth girl and the narcoleptic girl and that angry mutant alien and the villain is a batterwitch?” you would be able to find which one I was talking about, even if you haven’t read Homestuck.  And that’s not even half of the diversity Homestuck has.  There are characters with depression, and blind characters, and bipolar characters, and a paralyzed character, and a supervillain with a learning disability, and an amputee, and gay characters and bi characters.  In fact the bi characters outnumber the straight characters by nearly six to one.

So why can’t mainstream media have that much representation of minorities?  Well Homestuck has over 9000 pages so maybe it’s really hard to write and the author is just really dedicated.

But oh wait!  The podcast Welcome to Night Vale has only one specified romantic relationship and it’s between a racially ambiguous man and a hispanic man.  And Agents of the Realms has seven characters currently introduced and two of them are white.  And six of them are girls.  And Nimona has a chubby girl as the protagonist and a dark skinned lady scientist as the go-to person for all strange science questions.  And Mirror is based off of vaguely Tibetan geography and culture, and most of the characters are girls.  Paranatural is one of the lesser examples of webcomic representation and even there most of the characters in charge of anything are girls or women, many of them dark-skinned, one who wears a hijab, and one woman who is blind.

So the answer is mainstream media doesn’t have the representation of webcomics and podcasts and other non-mainstream media because it doesn’t want to be diverse.  It’s getting better, as one can see from the new Annie and the confirmed Black Panther movie, but, compared with non mainstream stuff, those are just tokens to say “look!  We love diversity, we’ve got three movies with diversity!”

So let your inner hipster loose.  Ditch the mainstream media and find all the wonders offered by the more hidden venues.


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