- How to stream Liverpool vs. Chelsea Friday 6:45 PM
- How to stream Real Madrid vs. Sevilla Friday 6:35 PM
- How to stream Peter ‘Kid Chocolate’ Quillin vs. Alfredo Angulo Friday 5:16 PM
- How to stream Barcelona vs. Granada Friday 4:50 PM
- ‘Atlantics’ tells a ghost story steeped with emotion and realism Friday 4:16 PM
- ‘Jojo Rabbit’ is a sweet, singular movie that loses its grip on satire Friday 3:40 PM
- Jordan Peterson is in rehab for Klonopin addiction Friday 3:34 PM
- The cat-worshipping turkey cult video, explained Friday 3:22 PM
- Despite legal threats and drama, the Area 51 desert event is on Friday 3:05 PM
- How to stream Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens on UFC Fight Night Friday 3:00 PM
- Twitter just launched its ‘Hide Replies’ feature Friday 1:59 PM
- How to turn off image metadata before it snitches on you Friday 1:36 PM
- The ‘Breaking Bad’ movie is coming to theaters—for one weekend only Friday 1:04 PM
- Teens recorded, shared videos of mall fight that ended in fatal stabbing Friday 12:44 PM
- How to stream Giants vs. Buccaneers in Week 3 Friday 12:31 PM
Something special happens when you’re a kid and you find someone in media—be it on TV or in the movies—who you feel truly represents you. It’s comforting at the least, and empowering at the greatest, to watch someone who you feel you could grow up to be some day, even if it’s a cartoon character in a middle school sitcom.
But for those of us who don’t fall into the categories of populations most often depicted in media (straight, white, able-bodied cismen, and less often, ciswomen), the lack of representation can do the complete opposite—make you feel isolated and lonely, left to navigate your own reality without the assistance of a fictional character.
Yes, that’s a pretty dramatic depiction of how underrepresentation can affect young girls, but I know that to be my own reality in looking for mixed families on TV, and I’m not alone.
In a collaboration with Netflix, Black Girl Nerds, an online community for “nerdy” black women, had a chance to recount some of their own memories of media representation. Using the hashtag #FirstTimeISawMe, they encouraged other women to share the first time they recall seeing themselves in media.
While Joi, Connie, and Kay-B, women from Black Girl Nerds, saw themselves in black female characters from the Marvel universe and Dear White People, Twitter users threw it back to their own childhoods in which Brandy brought Cinderella to life, and Susie Carmichael from Rugrats showed how important leadership was in the face of scheming Angelica Pickles.
In addition to black women, other women of color and women of underrepresented religions joined the conversation, showcasing just who else media has underserved over the years.
Of course, some women pointed to the reality that they still have yet to see one character that represents them at all.
#FirstTimeISawMe, I haven't— jessica (@orionskiss) August 1, 2017
As long as Hollywood uses non-disabled actors in disabled roles & whitewash POC characters, it'll be a while b4 I can say #FirstTimeISawMe— alice wong (@SFdirewolf) August 1, 2017
At least Black Girl Nerds is continuing the conversation—one that can’t afford to lose steam anytime soon.
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.