by Diya Barmecha and Aahana Khemani
The U.S.is no doubt an influential and progressive country and citizens of the world are influenced by what it does . One of the means by which global citizens get to see U.S.and its nuances is through television. However, does cinema capture the diversity of the U.S? Do TV. shows and movies really show how open America is? Or is the diversity of America on television all a checklist that’s only purpose is to be ticked off? Is it censored? We think that some aspects of American diversity are not portrayed to its full potential through television.
For people living outside the United States of America, the only representation of the U.S. is received from tv shows and films. They portray the culture and they are the closest many get to the states. In the past 15-20 years tv shows and films have worked hard to show diversity and modern thinking. However, is this really true? Does television have a diverse cast? Even though American television tries its best to show the LGTBQ+ community. A study conducted in Nielson, shows that women make up 52% of the US population but onscreen they are only shown 37.9% of the time. Many times shows try to come up with a perfect cast by making a checklist. They add a coloured woman to their cast and their diversity box is ticked. This might not be because it is necessary to the story, but because it’s a box that needs to be filled. We don’t ask for there to be more diversity, because there is a lack of representation. We ask to show the reality of America in all of its diversity, not to tick a box but to mimic real life scenarios. Another problem tv shows and movies struggle with is the accuracy of the things they show.
American tv and movie directors want the audience to believe that the entire of America struggles with issues like teen pregnancy, drug abuse and many others that are constantly shown. Over time, it becomes very hard to differentiate between the real and the fictional. . The film makers are showing this because it becomes easy to use these as conflicts and derive a story from it . The repetition in the movie plot lines mainly occurs because of the limited variety of conflicts that are shown.. It’s not necessary to showcase the real U.S because of moral obligations but because showcasing America in all its reality can help the rest of the world see that no country is perfect and what we see on TV is not always reality.
Genuine diversity is extremely important. . People around the world are influenced by America, and the power of television can right multiple wrongs around the world. The US is in the top 3 Cultural Influence Rankings. American music, inventions, literature, media businesses have completely changed individuals around the world. It’s time for American Television to impact people in an optimistic way. It can give hope to people in countries where there’s not much hope, it can bring joy to people, it can encourage people, it can have a positive impact. By showing the true diversity of America, it can truly have good influence on people.
US cinema has no doubt spread the vibe of America in some form, however, not completely. People around only get to see “the gay best friend” or “the woman employee” in American television, but isn’t America more diverse than that? Through removing the checklist and censorship of American diversity on American television, and genuinely incorporating American diversity into American television, people can actually relate to American diversity and be positively impacted by it.