Representing Women of Color

Positive representation of women of color in the media is almost nonexistent. It’s even worse that when the lead character is a woman of color, sometimes the role is still played by a white woman. From Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in 1963 to Angelina Jolie in present-day blackface, here are just a few examples of Hollywood whitewashing:

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Whitewashing characters and portraying negative stereotypes is terrible and damaging. It’s time for media to portray women characters of color accurately. Hidden Figures has done just that by shedding light on the stories of three African American NASA mathematicians who were instrumental in sending the first American into space. So let’s stop hiding positive role models and create more inclusive media.

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Let’s dive down another layer: According to global media, some lives are worth more than others depending on your race and zip code. A lot more.

You can dive more into it here. What kind of effects does it have that the world tends to value Western countries and their lives? For one, it means that women everywhere are expected to uphold an already-impossible ideal of Western beauty, regardless of where they were born:

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Women experience colorism -- discrimination based on skin tone -- all over the world, and women are willing to do just about anything to reach it, even if that means bleaching their skin with harmful chemicals. One campaign is fighting against skin bleaching in India, and reminding all women and girls that dark is beautiful, too.

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The beauty industry has a long history of failing women of color. But don’t lose all hope, because some things are starting to get better. Rihanna’s new makeup line Fenty Beauty is redefining the market by launching with 40 foundation shades. Their success is showing the makeup industry that women of color are a powerful market and that they support companies that do them justice.

But to create real change, we need more than just makeup: We need a superhero. A badass Muslim hacker superhero from the future, to be exact. Someone was paying attention to that fact, because the first Muslim superhero on TV is kicking butt in The Legends of Tomorrow.

up up and away >

Are you amped up and ready for more?