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This is likely going to cause the wrong kind of controversy.  Let me say up front this is NOT a post which is suggesting anyone has to ‘get over’ anything, or that anyone is wrong in viewing the world the way they do.  This is about sharing my view.

There is a real and justified cry about the lack of “people who look like me” on TV.  “Me” in this case being anyone not white.  What I disagree with, however, is the argument that the television is therefore full of people who look like me; me in this case being actually me.

Just because she’s white doesn’t mean she looks like me.  Especially if you consider the level of make-up and even Photoshop involved in many ads these days, she probably doesn’t even look like herself!

Just because I’m white doesn’t mean I look at the TV or movies and see it filled with representations of me.  I don’t.  I see beautiful, skinny, wealthy women who wear short skirts and high heels who feel incomplete without a man.   They don’t represent me.   They don’t look like me.  They don’t act like me.

The very, very rare time that a woman is depicted as anything other than skinny and beautiful, she is usually heavy and beautiful, and her sole purpose is to prove that the heavy girl can still get the guy.  Which is great, except it’s limited to roles where the story plot *is* the heavy girl can get the guy.  The average woman on TV is still skinny and beautiful as the default.

Because of the difference in how culture views each of us, there is also a difference in how we view the culture, and how we interact with it.  They say giving a white doll to a black girl lowers her self-esteem, but giving a black doll to a white girl raises her empathy.   I think this is sort of the same idea.  Any two groups might have very different interactions and reactions to what is otherwise seen as the same catalyst.

When black people see black people on TV or in the movies or other media, they see themselves – because of the general lack of it.  But when white people see white people on TV or in the movies or other media, we don’t necessarily see ourselves.  We often feel worse about ourselves because of what we see.  It fuels our insecurities rather than building our esteem.  It’s like the opposite of the dolls.

The irony is, both groups look at today’s media and see someone other than us.  So it’s entirely accurate to say that everyone who isn’t white isn’t properly represented in media, but that doesn’t mean everyone who is white is.  It’s an oxymoron, but it’s true.

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