Diversity – what is it?
Diversity is showing a great deal of variety. The modern society that we live in today is more diverse than it has ever been. We’ve seen different races, ethnicities and cultures unite as one showing the world that race, religion or any other labels that we give people don’t matter. So why do we still have concepts like cultural appropriation? Why do we still have racism occurring? Why do we still have negative views when black or Asian people are represented in the media?
Take the film ‘Black Panther’. It’s one of the highest grossing films with a box office of 1.079 billion USD (as of Mar. 11, 2018). The Marvel film, based on the comic character, was made with a predominately black cast and directed by an African-American, Ryan Coogler. A few years ago, a film like this would not have been possible as black actors were not considered commercially viable. However, we can see that is not the case. People are paying to see black people tell the stories of black lives. But as usual, with any successful franchise comes backlash and negativity. Although people have their positive views on the film, there are people who have their negative opinions on the film.
“Now there is a Superhero Villain that is not only a domestic terrorist but also has racist followers that hate white people,” tweeted one person. There are also critics who have called the film “too black” and “too militant”. Our society talks a great deal of diversifying but when a step towards diversification is actually taken, those with negativity and backlash try to force it two steps back.
If our society believes so much in diversity, why do we still use the term ‘cultural appropriation’ more than we use ‘cultural appreciation’. For example, look at Bruno Mars. His music has been criticised as being an example of cultural appropriation and this has sparked much debate over whether his music offensive or not. Bruno Mars’ music was influenced by a lot of black musicians BabyFace, Teddy Riley, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. If music is influenced by others, is that cultural appropriation or appreciation?
We need to start using the term ‘appreciation’ more than ‘appropriation’ because in modern day, we all appreciate each other regardless of where we come from and what our culture is. We need to start accepting the fact that our society is diverse and accepting. Cultural appropriation should be a thing of the past and cultural appreciation should be a thing of the now.
The Perfect Body Is Already Yours!
We live in a society where our individualism is beaten out of us from birth. When did we decide one size should fit all? Body image is a contributing factor to our overall identity and this can be very easily damaged by our surroundings. The discomfort of people often feel about their own bodies can range from “having a fat day” to self-harming and eating disorders.
It is proven that nationally 91% of women and 43% of men are unhappy with their bodies due to the pressures of society and the concepts around the ‘ideal’ body. Why does it have to be this way? This is unacceptable.
However, a change is coming… Body image has once again become a topic of controversy in the news. Many famous companies and brands are creating campaigns trying to defeat the negative concepts associated with it. PrettyLittleThing are now introducing social media influencer, Anastasia Karanikolaou as ‘the face of PrettyLittleThing Shape’ encouraging body confidence. Missguided’s new ‘Make Your Mark’ campaign features nine “babes of Missguided” which aims to empower women and highlight body positivity by including women’s so-called “flaws” by its use of untouched imagery.
The selection for role models are countless due to the influences of celebrities especially in the media. However, how many of us actually see ourselves within these role models? Harassed with countless media images of thin models and actresses who are considered “beautiful” by modern beauty standards leads us to think of them as people we should aspire to look like. This results in many unhealthy habits affecting physical and mental health. Individuals need to find role models in their life who encourage body love and acceptance and who can help them to develop those same desirable qualities.
The small changes we are making can give us hope that a larger and more permanent change is approaching. However, despite the push we are starting to get from advertising, the true change needs to start with us. We need to start spreading love and bring back individualism. It’s okay to be unique!
“To me it means being confident within myself and not caring what other people think of me.”
Unknown Year 11