Your Costume Is Our Reality

Why representation matters to me as a queer person of color.


Josse, Staff Writer

When I was little growing up in the era of the internet and tv shows, it was hard relating to a lot of things that I would see on tv because most of them were targeted towards the average white kid experience, like “OMG my mom didn’t want to buy me the newest phone even though the one that I have is less than a year old”, while the problems that a lot of kids of colors faced were more complex from what the tv showed. Something that we experienced was the normalization of colorism in immigrant families, how normal it is for kids of color to get kidnapped, murdered, assaulted or abused and the police doing nothing about it. How normal it is to oversexualize girls of color and nobody says anything. Seeing shows where most of the characters are played by a white person is hard to relate to when they don’t look anything like you and live a life completely different. In the rare occasion where there was a POC character, it is usually very stereotypical, like the “hot cheeto girl” which is usually an over stereotypical black person or Hispanic person. Usually, if you see a Hispanic person on tv, they are usually in a gang, they are drug addicts, they are “loud”, or they speak broken English. Something that I have noticed when watching shows that have “Latino characters” is that they are being played by white Latinos and sometimes even white people. While there is nothing wrong with white Latinos playing Latino character’s, the issue is they almost never have indigenous or black Latinos play Latino characters, even for Latin American tv channels it is very rare for them to cast darker actors.

 With queer representation, the television industry is barely now making it more acceptable to incorporate LGBTQ+ characters into tv shows or movies. Growing up as a queer kid, growing up with the only relationships shown on tv being heterosexual relationships and the only kind of queer representation we get being white teenage straight actors that fit the beauty standards, playing an over stereotypical gay characters which only the characteristics being hooking up with straight guys when they are drunk and misusing AAVE. When the only characters we have as representation are over stereotypical and played by somebody that isn’t even part of the community, it feels like they are using us as props for their show, instead of just being something about them and not make it their entire personality that won’t even matter for the rest of the show. Growing up and that being your only representation, it becomes hard watching tv and thinking that we are supposed to relate to them and feel seen. It feels like they are just making us to be a caricature. They don’t show us like humans, they show us as a caricature and don’t even show the hardships that we experience for being who we are.

Now, I want to talk about what ways representation in the media can help future generations. Representation matters so that kids can have someone that they can look up into the tv and think “that person is like me.”  Not feel so alone and think that they only have to look, act, or dress a certain way to be considered “pretty” or have to fit into a specific beauty standard that I’ve seen only benefits white people. It can be very harmful for young kids of color who are just learning about many things and can affect the way that they think and view themselves completely differently. Representation is also something good for kids because it can teach kids about other religions, cultures, sexualities and disabilities and other things that they might not see in their day to day. This helps so that they don’t grow up being ignorant towards other people that aren’t like them and can treat them with respect. Representation can help kids try out new things or get interested in things they wouldn’t have thought of before, like little girls getting interested in STEM, computing and other male dominated jobs just by seeing women in those careers. With little boys, getting interested in dancing, baking, and fashion designers which are typically targeted towards woman. Representation matters so that we can better ourselves.


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