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Mass media lack diversity


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Every woman wants to feel beautiful in her own skin. Recently, Dove launched a campaign to promote confidence in women; however, one crucial aspect was missing – diversity. Diversity is an issue that still plagues media across the board; however, I believe there is some hope for women of the future.

Dove came out with several videos displaying their mission to the world. Though the message is a positive one, I still see a problem with this campaign. Of the clips found on YouTube and TV, most featured only white women. I was shocked that such a prominent organization would highlight one race in a campaign.

After reflecting on what I had witnessed within Dove’s campaign, I began to think of other ads and the races they represent. Despite all of the equality we claim America has, we still under represent many groups in the media. I hardly ever see people of Indian descent in commercials. Native Americans, Asians, African Americans and mixed races are also missing from many ads in America. Our country is a melting pot, yet through the media, we are seen as mostly “white.” This seems just plain wrong. Multiple online studies point to the majority of professional models being white as well. This fact has created a stir throughout online communities. If models are to better represent our nation as a whole, then they must do so in a way that represents all races, genders and other characteristics equally.

All of my childhood dolls were white, generally featuring blonde hair and blue eyes. This skewed perception seemed to continue on until recently. A few years ago, my family had a mixed race foster child who was Caucasian and African American. It was such a struggle to find her dolls that looked like her. I was afraid she would get the idea that those with blonde hair and blue eyes were the definitive image of pretty. Around that time, Disney released a movie with its first black princess. This helped create a better diversity within the doll and toy marketplace. My family jumped on this opportunity that allowed my foster sister to see beauty is something other than the white, blonde, blue-eyed stereotype I was raised with.

Recent events have also helped in diversifying women empowerment. Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani student, was shot by a Taliban member and bravely lived to tell the tale. She is now an inspiration for millions of girls. The unfortunate part is she was shot before being recognized as a worldwide role model. While Yousafzai’s story is amazing and empowering to young women across the world, media sources need to discover more of these heroes from around the world that show strong women from every background.

When I look at today’s celebrities, it is easy to see the few individuals forging a path for diversity in pop culture. Mindy Kaling is one person I look up to. She is of Indian descent and is really making a name for herself in pop culture. Not only does she have her own TV show, but she has also appeared in other TV shows, movies and she has written a book. She is a good example of what the media needs. She is young, energetic and very talented.

However, she does not completely fill the gap for all that is missing in the media. We still need many more representations of women from various races. I want to see our country’s population being properly represented through advertisements. I want to see all sorts of unique faces on TV and in books. I want to see a change that is way over-due.

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Award winning, student run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield..
Mass media lack diversity