Representation on TV


Caroline C., Editor

Not long ago, I finished watching She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. The show is on Netflix and is the remake of an old 80s show by the same title. The story was amazing, but, as much as I could go on about how much I enjoyed it, the story wasn’t the most amazing part. The greatest part was the characters which made the show probably the best I’ve ever seen at representing different people.

First of all, whether it be racial, gender, sexual representation, most shows lack representation. Take, for example, female characters. Women are often portrayed in movies and shows as being weak, and dependent on the male leads. They ask questions that spotlight male characters, talk about things unrelated to the present, which make them seem less involved in the storyline. On the topic of racial representation, consider the last Star Wars movie–the Rise of Skywalker. Both fans and cast members noticed that the racially different characters -such as Finn (John Boyega) Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac)- were given less involved parts, almost like they were excluded. 

On the other hand, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power had great representation. Like most shows, there was racial variety, plenty of sexuality representation, and gender representation. However, unlike most shows, these characters actually had good parts and were involved. The leading characters were female (since they’re the “Princesses of Power”) so, unlike the majority of female leads, they were heavily involved in the storyline. There were also people of different races–such as Bow, Mermista, and Lonnie–who were also key characters and had an impact. And, finally, there is plenty of variety when it comes to sexuality. Take Bow’s dads, Netossa and Spinerella, and Catadora, for a few examples. 

Writers and show producers need to follow She-Ra and the Princesses of Power’s example, especially when it comes to kid’s shows. For kids, seeing people like them on screen helps them to see themselves in that –and their own– world. Stereotypes of different racial groups, or a lack of them, may lead a young viewer to question parts of their own identity in the real world. Additionally, representation in adult shows makes the story seem more familiar, relatable, or understandable. Shows such as Grey’s Anatomy are recognized for doing so. 

So next time you watch a movie or a new episode, take a moment to think whether the story includes all people–whether it be ethnic, racial, sexual, or gender. How can it change to include more diversity?