Hello friends! I hope all of you are well. ❤
Originally, I was going to do a whole book recommendation post on amazing and well-developed romances. But then, while creating the post, I realized that I don’t actually like that many romance books. As someone who falls under the ace (asexual)-spectrum, it was like the stars aligned in my mind: I only like romances that have a close friendship or strong emotional connection preceding the romance – it had never occurred to me before that.
Recently, Jeann from Happy Indulgence posted a fantastic post, When ‘Diversity’ Isn’t Actually Diverse, and I implore all of you to read it. There has been a great deal of discussion and debate surrounding diversity lately. The intensity of the discussions made waves in the Twitter book blogging community, but I found the discussions necessary and absolutely important.
Something that came up a few times, however, was the precarious situation that authors face when writing diversity. In discussions, comment sections, and Twitter threads, I observed that some people described a ‘catch-22’ when writing diversity. Today, I want to discuss the so-called ‘Catch-22’ that people have described, my note to authors, and emphasize – again – why diversity is important.
I am a big advocate for positive representation of mental health and mental illnesses. People who have mental illnesses, and the mental illnesses themselves, are often misunderstood and misportrayed in the media. One of my very wise Psychology lecturers, who was a very esteemed clinical psychologist, said something that has stuck with me ever since: Sometimes the stigma of mental illnesses can be more debilitating than the mental illnesses themselves.
I don’t think it needs to be said, but I’ll say it anyway: I’m pro-diversity, and there’s no buts about it. Heck, do you remember when I talked about why I needed representation as a child and need it now as an adult? That still stands; nothing has changed. I still need representation.
However, the more I hear it, the more ‘off’ the word ‘diverse’ feels to me. I keep hearing how people want more ‘diverse’ characters, and how this book had a ‘diverse’ character which made the book awesome. I don’t doubt those opinions (on the contrary, I am confident they are pure in intention) but it is strange seeing characters – representations of people – described as ‘diverse’.
Let’s admit it guys: everyone has, in varying degrees, swooned over a Male Love Interest (MLI). Whether they were great characters that supported the protagonist in achieving their goal, are inherently good people, have good hearts, or contribute to the story, the love interest and the romance are, most of the time, one of the core elements of YA fiction.
In today’s Let’s Talk About, I’m not going to talk about why Male Love Interests are great, or how they are great. I’m not talking about their gooey insides. Today, I want to talk about how Male Love Interests, regardless of their personalities and idiosyncrasies, are pretty much all the same appearance-wise.
Full title – Let’s Talk About: Why I Needed Representation as a Child and Need it Now as an Adult
I’m reviving this discussion post series. Months ago, I wrote a piece on something I was very passionate about – ‘Strong Female Characters’. After that, I couldn’t think of anything to talk about. So now I am reviving this series and will be releasing a Let’s Talk About discussion post every second Sunday!
Today, I want to talk about media representation. Not only is representation of different peoples in media something I passionately advocate and support, it is also something very dear to my heart. In this post today, I will be talking a lot about ethnic identity, because it was something that I really struggled with growing up. So whilst I am talking a lot about Asian representation, my discussions and their inherent intention is for diversity and representation to extend to all groups. I will be drawing on a lot of personal experiences, so if they are different to yours, I would love to hear your own experiences in the comments below!