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The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

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The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

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Are Trending Tv-Shows and Movies creating diversity in the wrong way?

Taken from Unsplash by Tim Marshall

Yes, I’ve watched the newest seasons of Heartstopper and The Summer I Turned Pretty and yes, I have some things to say. Diversity is a broad spectrum across the entertainment industry in terms of what people think it means. You’ve got celebrities like Kim Kardashian who believe that anyone who eats carbs rather than a salad once in their life is diverse and unique but then you’ve also got writers of new, trendy TV shows who are desperately trying to include LGBTQ characters in their stories in attempt to be accepting of everyone’s pronouns and sexuality. It seems however that fans have taken the message all wrong and are now causing shows like Heartstopper and TSITP to face severe backlash.


The main concept of the show Heartstopper is that no matter who you love or who you want to be you’re appreciated and supported. The show centres around two main characters Nick and Charlie who realize in season one they have obvious feelings for each other. In the newest season, they travel to Paris for an unforgettable school trip and fall deeper in love with each other. The show quickly gained attention therefore making fans unimaginably eager for season two however it seemed fans missed the point of the show as the actor who plays Nick, Kit Connor was unfortunately forced to out himself on Twitter after he hesitated to share his sexuality in the first place.


He tweeted on September 12th, 2022 “This is a silly app. Bit bored of it now, deleting Twitter” as he was starting to get fed up with the constant nagging by fans but eventually, he broke and tweeted on October 31st, 2022, “back for a minute. I’m bi. Congrats on forcing an 18-year-old to out himself. I think some of you missed the point of the show. Bye.” It seems that even though the show is based on younger people figuring themselves out and sharing that in a fictional environment many viewers are of the opinion that they have the right to know and constantly ask what the cast’s sexuality is.


Another popular new show is The Summer I Turned Pretty. The show focuses on a young girl named Belly in a love triangle between two brothers Conrad and Jeremiah. The show’s first two seasons have been a massive success in many countries however one thing that has faced some backlash is the new character in season two named Skye. Skye is Conrad and Jeremiah’s loner cousin who identifies as non-binary. Jenny Han, the author of the series and writer of the show didn’t initially include Skye in any of the three books and fans are not happy. Many haters have blamed the unnecessary bullying on the actor that plays Skye, Elsie Fisher on the fact that their character’s ‘cringy’ but many fans of the show have noticed that the backlash is due to the character/actor’s pronouns.


Though Elsie Fisher has ignored the transphobic comments, the writer Jenny Han has taken to social media to confront the trolls. “The whole Summer cast and crew have worked hard to make a show we hope you will love, and we are so excited to share it with you guys. The Summer I Turned Pretty community is one of inclusivity. The hurtful comments directed at the cast are not in the spirit of the show. Please be mindful of what you’re putting out there and of who is seeing it.”


As much as people like to believe that shows like these are just trying to be inclusive and open-minded to everyone, there’s still a chance there’s an ulterior motive behind it. Are writers trying to incorporate characters like these in an attempt to fit a ‘quota’ or are they truly being authentic and diverse? Take the real-life adaption of ‘The Little Mermaid’ for example, The movie was brilliant and the actress playing Ariel was beautiful however did they cast a non-white female to enhance diversity or are they doing it to prove they’re racially aware and accepting? Personally, I think the movie was a great way to enhance diversity as it was designed for kids and people who watched the movie in their childhood. Adorable videos of children reacting to Ariel’s race, saying things like “she’s just like me” were incredibly heart-warming and so special. The best part of it was getting to see people young girls feel appreciated and included in the film, for example, a video of the actress Halle Bailey (Ariel) getting hugged by a young girl of the same culture at Disneyland came out and made fans swoon.


With new shows and movies like these, there’s always going to be controversy and mean people with rude opinions as it’s the unfortunate world we live in. The writers in these shows are trying to include people with all kinds of variations which has its advantages and disadvantages, are they creating diversity correctly? Yes. Does it have ridiculous consequences? Also, yes. At the end of the day, however, the shows and movies are incredibly successful, and no matter what, the characters are still getting people talking about the writing and concepts which means it’s raising the awareness it needs.

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Molly B (Year 9)
Molly B (Year 9), Chief Contributor

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  • Evie PSep 8, 2023 at 8:39 pm

    A false use of diversity in shows is mainly because lazy directors are more focused on being woke rather than making a good and enjoyable story. Instead of making new and original stories that shows POC characters and their culture for diversity they just cast POC actors as white characters, not for diversity but for an easy way out.