With movies like “Ocean’s 8” to “Incredibles 2” being released, 2018 has proved itself to be a phenomenal year for movie watchers of all backgrounds. For nostalgic 90’s teens and thrill-seeking toddlers, there’s “Incredibles 2.” For hopeless romantics and Meryl-Streep fans, there’s the sequel to “Mamma Mia.” And for underrepresented minorities, there’s movies like “Love, Simon” and “Crazy Rich Asians.”
“Crazy Rich Asians” tells the story of Taiwanese American Rachel Chu as she discovers the full extent of her boyfriend’s wealth on a trip to Singapore. And, for the first time, the movie features an all-Asian cast and they aren’t all stereotyped as the glasses-wearing, nerdy Asians. The movie portrays Asians as they are — people with distinct experiences, cultures and interests.
“Love, Simon” tells the story of a young, insecure gay teen coming to terms with his sexuality. And for once, Simon’s story is told without any of the negative stereotypes that gay men are almost always portrayed as. Simon isn’t the stereotypical gay man with an unrivaled fashion sense.
Instead of portraying negative stereotypes of people of color or the LGBTQ community, several movies in 2018, including “Black Panther” and “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” reveal their characters as individuals that have emotions and relationships, rather than one-dimensional stereotypes.
I can never forget the feeling of inclusion that I had as a child when “Mulan” came out. Asian Americans were never represented in American media — the most we ever had was Long Duk Dong in “Sixteen Candles.” Remembering that people like me, that people with eyes like me and skin like me, existed was a comforting feeling and I want other children to experience that feeling.
Representation reminds us that, yes, minorities exist. That no matter gay, straight, white, black, we are humans with emotions and relationships and unique character traits.
Representation reminds us that we have a voice, that we can and will speak up for what is right.
Representation reminds us that we are not just extras in a world full of main characters. We can craft our own stories with our own experiences.
A canvas of color filled with every color of the rainbow is so much more fascinating than a plain white canvas — and the same goes for movies.