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Why Representation Matters


Representation for young children is imperative. Two important aspects where representation can be improved are in movies and in the food given out at school.


Although it has definitely gotten better, representation in movies and television shows has lacked for many years. A lack of representation has not only caused young children to feel like they will never be successful, but it has also caused them to feel insecure about themselves, whether it’s about their appearance, cultural practices, or sexual orientation. With no one to look up to they feel like society will not accept them or they are not “normal.”


The first Disney princess movie with a woman of color was such a big moment, yet Disney decided to make Princess Tiana a frog for most of the film. Imagine a young black girl finally excited to see a princess with the same skin tone as her and then for the rest of the movie they see an amphibian. Not seeing people on television with their skin tone as children can cause them to self loathe because they do not feel like they are pretty enough to meet the beauty standard (which is thin, able-bodied, white people).


Similarly, young kids do not see food at school that appropriately represents their culture at home. A lot of adults often share their experiences about how lunch time was their least favorite part of school as an elementary school student. They explain how their cultural food had different and unique smells compared to all the other kids with PB&J’s. They explain how their classmates would scrunch up their noses and use dog treats to describe their food. No matter what the insult was, they were always ridiculed for bringing their homemade meals. This causes kids to be ashamed of their culture and it takes lots of people up until their adulthood to be able to celebrate what they once loved. Schools need to be more inclusive with the foods they serve at mealtimes.


Allowing kids to express different parts of their identity helps them be comfortable with who they are as a person and it lets them know that they are enough. From movies to foods, we can all do better to help everyone find self acceptance.


3 comments

3 Σχόλια


Valeria Ortega
Valeria Ortega
26 Αυγ 2022

I 100% agree with all of this, representation is so important. It helps young kids feel like they do not have to change themselves in order to fit in. When I was younger there was barely any sort of LGBTQ+ representation and for a long time I felt ashamed but recently people have been more open to it and I have never been happier. Furthermore, adding different foods of all sorts of cultures would be an amazing way to normalize different cultures and allow students to feel more comfortable with themselves and their identities.

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Melanie Robles
Melanie Robles
05 Οκτ 2021

Amazing job Crystal I related to this article a lot especially when I was in Elementary school and I used to bring food my Mexican mother made and I used to feel ashamed to take out my food when the rest of my friends were pulling out a sandwich. It is a great idea to diversify the food in our school.

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Shadene Headley
Shadene Headley
05 Οκτ 2021

Great article! Representation for people of color has been nonexistent throughout movies and things we see. It lacks accurate representation of specific groups. Especially in movies and show where a person with no Hispanic/ Latinx background plays a Spanish originated role like Ronni Hawk in "Stuck in the Middle" or choosing a lighter skin tone over a darker skin tone that corelates with the book "The Hate You Give." Although newer movies such as "Shang-chi" offering representation for Asians. Hopefully we can see more representations for smaller groups, inclusive to all groups on skin color, regional and language differences, and race.

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