Sample English Paper on Diversity in Media

The media is an integral part of society. So important is the media in the society that the depictions on the media shape people’s experiences and perceptions. It is for this reason that diversity in the media is important. Currently, the media’s portrayal is visibly biased against some races, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations. The lack of diversity in the media, shown through these biases, enhance ethnic and racial stereotypes.

The nature of the world today is such that the media is a product consumed constantly by people within the society thanks to the proliferation of internet accessible gadgets including smartphones, notebooks, and tablets. The power of the media, therefore, has become increasingly strong, and the fact that media (television, film, music, and internet) influences people draws a lot of concern for the underrepresentation of some groups in the media. Traditionally, TV and film characters have been heterosexual, Caucasian males, with other groups, used only in filling known stereotypes within the script. While many may argue that such stereotypical representations are merely superficial or physical attributes, underrepresentation of some groups in the media is disconcerting.  Such underrepresentations easily cause isolation, particularly of the underrepresented groups. It is important for the media to give a sense of inclusion and celebration of all within society.

Perhaps most important for the media regarding inclusion is the need to fight prejudice and stereotypes portrayed in the media of different groups in the U.S. Many shows and films within the U.S. have perpetuated stereotypes against minority groups, a fact that has caused the majority Caucasians (and some minorities) to believe in the portrayals as true representation of particular groups. The media has traditionally portrayed women as “damsels in distress” that need saving by a macho male; Caucasian males as successful; Blacks as violent and their children growing without an incarcerated father; Asians as smart and isolated; and Latinas as drug dealers. These tropes constantly portrayed and perpetuated by the media have and continue to influence prejudice and stereotyping towards different groups in the U.S. The fact that the media influences people and the constant depiction of the groups etches an imprint of the stereotypes and prejudices of the said groups among the media consumers.

The influence and power that the media holds make it the best tool for use in reducing stereotype and prejudices against different groups. For instance, while the tall, thin, Caucasian model was the standard for most female characters in film and TV, recent years have seen more diversity in characters. Orange is the New Black, a show with multiple female characters, features a diverse range of women of different race, color, and body type. Scandal has Kerry Washington, a Black woman as its lead character, same to How to Get Away with Murder, which features Viola Davis, another Black woman as its lead. Wonder Woman, which featured Gal Gadot as its lead female superhero and Black Panther, which had Chadwick Boseman as its lead Black superhero received critical acclaim. Both films were box office successes. Such shows and films break away from tradition and in so doing help reduce the prejudice and stereotype associated with women and Black males.

Orange is the New Black, Wonder Woman, Black Panther, Luke Cage, and Nike’s ads featuring Colin Kaepernick, Serena Williams, and several Muslim athletes including  Ines Boubakri, Amal Mourad and Zahra Lari are a clear indication that media is changing in its diversity of characters. Marvel Studios will soon release Captain Marvel, another woman-led superhero film. Recent shows and films have shown increasing diversity in characters, an indication that the media is indeed moving toward a more inclusive and diverse era.

The media is powerful in the way that it influences people’s perceptions. Media has the power to perpetuate or change people’s perspective of specific groups. While traditional media was rife with stereotypical tropes of different groups, recent years have shown an improvement. It is important for the media to be at the forefront of driving the change, given the power it holds in shaping narratives and perceptions, particularly of the minorities in society.