As a white woman with blonde hair and blue eyes, I’ve seen myself represented in books, TV shows, movies and songs for as long as I can remember. I adored Cinderella (though I had many other blonde-haired, blue-eyed princesses to choose from) because I thought we kinda looked like we could be sisters. My dad took me to see the play when I was six and I just about lost it.
This is not the common experience. Many of my friends at school had very few characters with whom they could connect in the same way. And while diverse representation in media and the arts is certainly better now than when we were kids, it’s nowhere near perfect. Take the new live-action Aladdin movie: according to , “finding a male lead in his 20s who can act and sing has proven difficult—especially since the studio wants someone of Middle-Eastern or Indian descent.”
Black Girl Nerds (), an “online community for nerdy Black women,” recognized the need for representation and created the hashtag #FirstTimeISawMe to remind people that diversity matters.
Let us know about the first time your felt you saw yourself represented in media, use the hashtag !
— Black Girl Nerds (@BlackGirlNerds)
Here are some of the most heartwarming responses.
When Jane’s grandmother spoke in Spanish and she answered in English. I cried!
— Latinx Nerds (@comosedicenerd)
Keesha Franklin and Jodie Landon! Smart, strong independent black girls. Especially Keesha! She loves science like me!
— Brit-Brat :* (@OnAWHITEcloud_)
An awkward Mexican American finally made her way into our living rooms. ‘Like looking in a mirror.
— Gina Ownby (@ownby_gina)
and learned what cultural appropriation was!!!
— Tamika (@un_apologetic23)
Troine, a black transgender man in Queen Sugar. I cried during this scene. Thank you for giving me hope.
— hunger is a mood (@loving_a_shadow)
When The Rugrats did their Passover special it was the first time I ever saw any Jewish representation/families on screen.
— Coffee Spoonie (@coffeespoonie)
was in Disney’s Mulan. She is still the only east asian Disney princess. And she was totally badass.
— Karin Bylund. (@KarinBylundd)
I watched this movie over and over again for a year bc I had never seen a black princess before. Thank you
— black barbie (@kimberlymade)
Parminder Nagra in Bend It Like Beckham: an Indian girl whose dreams were outside the norm of what’s expected.
— Rukhmani K. Desai (@RukhDesai)
Lisa Turtle from Saved by the Bell. Despite the tropes that show perpetuated seeing her shine in a predominately white space gave me hope.
— DIANCA LONDON (@diancalondon)
This New Feminist Music Festival Is the Perfect Way to Wrap Up Your Summer
GLAAD Report Says LGBTQ People Are “Nearly Invisible” in Hollywood
“Why Hatecopy’s Trust No Aunty Is the Indo-Canadian Manual I Needed”