We’re clamouring more and more for stories that include EVERYONE… When is too far though?
Time for a CONTROVERSIAL OPINION!
Everyone wants to feel heard, recognised, and represented – especially in this time of being isolated or in restrictions and lockdowns. But when does it go from a request, to a demand?
I’ve heard time and time again of authors that are slammed because they don’t represent this group, or that.. They didn’t include various types or groups of people in the story – and shame on them! But is it really?
I find this a funny request/demand.
Stories, are by their very essence, a group of characters and a plot that comes from the imagination of a person.
People are all different. We have different socio-economic backgrounds, different people who we surround ourselves with, different beliefs and values. So why should every story, contain everything?
I think this desire to be seen, heard, and acknowledged comes from a deep place of hurt and neglect. Some groups/people feel ignored and pushed aside. I understand this hurt, but I also understand that these wounds will never be healed by seeing yourself reflected in a story.
Just because an author or story teller has a platform, it doesn’t mean they owe your wounds and scars anything. They have their own. A story teller writes from their understanding and experiences. They write from the ideas that ONLY THEY can contribute to the world. And guess what… it’s okay if this doesn’t include a carbon copy image of you in it.
I hear arguments of ‘if they don’t know about it, they should educate themselves’ or ‘they have a responsibility to their platform/audience to educate them also’ but the reality is, I don’t agree with those at all. I think if you’re going to write a story about something specific, then YES you should absolutely learn and educate yourself before you put words to paper. But the only responsibility that a story teller/author has for their story and their words, is to themselves. They need to be authentic/true to who they are, not to who you are – or who you want them to be.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I would LOVE to see more representations of things that matter to me (for example, more ACCURATE depictions of Christian people – we can get a pretty unfair shake in media!!), but I don’t go so far as to say that it’s the RESPONSIBILITY of an author who isn’t a Christian, or who doesn’t care about my beliefs, to put a character that’s accurately represented into their stories. It’s just not logical or practical.
Instead of demanding story tellers to include people who you identify with, maybe shift your perspective. Find those authors who are ALREADY doing just that – writing about you, or what you care about. Because they exist! I promise you they do. I found a multitude of authors who write beautiful Christian characters and perspectives. There are story tellers out there for you too!
Not every author, has a responsibility to write every character under the sun. If you’re struggling to feel heard or seen in media, change the game! Pick up your pen, or promote authors who are already doing that…
Let’s allow stories to be told the way the authors have crafted them.
Let’s allow more grace to our fellow humans.
Let’s find our worth, value, and identity within ourselves, and not in the media we are bombarded with.
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