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representation

Why unfair representation of minorities in society needs to change

In today's society it is becoming more and more prominent that different genders, races and sexualities are not being fairly represented in the media and politics.

In recent light of Scarlett Johansson's controversial statement regarding her role as a trans woman that 'as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job,' it is evident that many privileged people in society still don't understand the necessity for representation of minorities; these people have a lot of power and influence making this a dangerous belief for the Marvel actor to have no shame in sharing. We should have disabled people playing disabled characters and trans people playing trans characters.

Privileged people shouldn't be robbing people who can bring far more experience to the role, people who will be showing people who can relate to them that they are just as accepted in society.

This comes shortly after backlash for Disney casting Halle Bailey as Ariel for the new live-action version of The Little Mermaid. I understand that some people may be disappointed that the actress isn't the spitting image of the original cartoon, but after all, no one looks like a cartoon so protests for this are ridiculous and nothing short of racist. There have even been petitions to put pressure on Disney to reverse their decision—something which is completely unacceptable. It took a very long time for Disney to portray their first black princess, Tiana from The Princess and the Frog. And since then there has been little representation, unlike the many white princesses we see every day. Surely, if people are quick to defend Johansson's statement, this can also be applied to a beautiful black actress playing an originally white role? After all, Bailey possesses the enthusiasm and wonder of Ariel that makes her perfect for the role and I can't wait to see what more she can bring to one of my favourite childhood films.

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Proud.

A post shared by Chloe and Halle (@chloexhallebailey) on

The problem with representation does not only belong in film and TV; today there is little representation for BAME groups and even an imbalance of gender representation.

Boris Johnson has recently come forward promising that as Prime Minister, he will appoint a woman to a great office of state. Johnson has since received backlash for this: we cannot just hand a woman an important job because they're a woman. However, those possessing this belief are exhibiting sexism—why can't a woman have earned this position? And his promise of one woman just isn't enough. There are more than enough talented and intelligent women that could do amazing work for politics, and they have more than earned it. The dominance of men in this industry doesn't mean they're better for the job, but women are being discriminated against; there is always the argument that a woman is 'too emotional' for politics. This is a double-bind—Theresa May was criticised for being heartless, not crying for Grenfell, then made fun of for crying during her resignation. Women can't win, and no matter what political party you side with, this cannot be ignored.

It's extremely important for more women to get involved in politics and appointed positions - after all, women make up a large part of society so why are men making decisions for us when they don't understand what women would benefit from most. Especially after recent events in America regarding abortion laws, this is more important than ever.

Hopefully these issues will be resolved as they are becoming more prominent in today's society. Either way, we can't wait to see Scarlett Johansson play her next award-winning role as a tree.

Featured image: roya ann miller on Unsplash

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