What is Fair Representation?

As we have seen in Dreamworld 3, the mainstream media has been a historical tool to distort people’s ideas of each other. It sells misogynistic images, exploits the queer image for financial purposes and perpetually marginalizes transsexuals. Knowing this, it is a fitting exercise to critique representations that are not only disrespectful but on the whole, contradictory. However, when do we know what is too much or too little representation (i.e. heterosexual couples)? When do we know that the representation is genuine (i.e. queer couples behaving heterosexually)?  When do we know if it’s enough to be fair?

            I would contextualize the answer to this question with Samuel A Chamber’s definition of a norm. He says, “A norm implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, demands, presumes, expects and calls for the normal. This means that norms construct and continuously reinforce (even if only in the background) our idea of ‘the normal’…” I would argue that any type media that promotes egalitarian norms, or is one consistent with the love of humanity, can be fair. Those that are not informed of past oppressions, or at very least, remotely aware of themselves, are promoting an individualistic mindset that assumes depictions of human life are neutral. Depictions of human life can never be neutral. They assert norms and therefore, behaviors.

To assess if a type of media is unfair, we need to evaluate the extent to which it “expects and calls for a norm” that falls outside the aforementioned parameters. The discrepancy between what is considered normal in the media and what is the real-world experience of its audience (more likely, a diverse world), hints at the extent of the injustice produced. 

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