Friday Thought: Representation in the media, lazy inauthenticity

Jacob Bradfield
3 min readNov 11, 2022

Wokeism and Cancel Culture, respectively, are the fashionable ramblings on the left and the right these days. From The Little Mermaid to Doctor Who and far beyond, the representation of underrepresented groups is a hot topic… at least in the vocal minorities of either side.

As a queer man, I believe wholeheartedly in representation… but I’d have to agree with some on the right that the way this is being carried out is, frequently, virtue-signally.

I want to see authentic queer characters in original content. I want the same for trans people and people of colour. All of these groups, that have undoubtedly been under or mis-represented in the past, deserve authentic representation.

As far as the queer community is concerned, in real life, you are more likely to see a token straight in a group of queers than you are the opposite… but the opposite seems to be the approach taken. Its tokenism, it doesn’t reflect what you’ll find in most of the real world.

Underrepresented groups are being corporatized with bullshit remakes of the same old films. Instead of portraying black history, they’d prefer to cast a black Anne Boleyn. Instead of portraying the politics and history of the queer community, they’d prefer to put in a throwaway remark they can cut out for the Chinese release.

Hollywood, and most of the mainstream arts in general, seem too lazy to create anything remotely original. They want to attempt to appease without doing justice to those they are appeasing. The originality issue, to be fair, doesn’t just exist for under-represented groups. The endless franchises and live-action remakes are increasingly frustrating in general.

JK Rowling will queer-bait with vague remarks about Dumbledore being gay. Doctor Who will queer-bait with sloppy storylines of the first female doctor being queer, without following it up with anything substantial.

I want a Russell T Davies for every minority. Somebody willing to tell the outrageous, political and authentic realities of the lives of minority groups. I want to see something real, not the millionth version of the fake franchises we’ve grown up on for our entire lives.

RTD is fabulous. Queer as Folk, Its A Sin, Cucumber, Tofu and Banana. Those series broke boundaries for the queer community. They put a spotlight on the rough-cut reality of being queer. They weren’t just there to represent for representations sake, they were there to tell the stories that must be told.

How To Get Away With Murder in the US gave us a glimpse of the reality of being a black woman in a white man’s world. The story wasn’t centred around race, but the representation was real and unapologetic.

I’m not interested in being baited. I’m not interested in virtue signalling. I want the real stories of underrepresented groups to be told. I want us to be respected. I want us to be heard. I don’t want us to be weaponised for political games or used solely as a tool for corporates to profit off a fresh cast in the same old story.

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