How Bridgerton Inspired Representation for Skin of Color
Last updated: May 2021
Being a person of color born into a white neighborhood, I have always been hyper-aware of the fact that I’m Asian American. I wish that weren’t the case, but it’s my reality. Of course, having TSW/eczema my whole life, I was also hyper-aware that my compromised Asian-American skin was even more peculiar. My childhood was just me trying to live my life amidst comments of “Ching, Chang, Chong, are you Chinese?” Trying to control an oncoming itch attack while constantly being judged and ostracized merely because of my skin's appearance.
I never felt represented as a person of color
Representation has always been important to me. Imagine growing up in a world where the media didn’t reflect your life. Where any representation of your face, your culture did not exist. That was my reality growing up. I did not feel that I was actually beautiful until I was in my mid-twenties. I grew up seeing white women as the ideal beauty - tall, skinny, pale, big eyes, huge breasts - everything I did not identify with. To go through life not identifying with the typical standard of beauty and then dealing with a visible illness that I never saw depicted in the media...it was hard. And on top of all that, when Asians were glimpsed on the big screen...we were a caricature of what our white society deemed us to be.
The impact Bridgerton had
Huge strides have been made since, but so much work still needs to be done. I finally got around to watching the show everyone has been talking about - Bridgerton. By the first ball, I found myself getting emotional watching each attendee being escorted into Danbury Hall. The feeling I felt in my chest was similar to what I felt as I watched Wonder Woman. The narrative and visuals in that movie were just overwhelmingly positive and all about strong women. I had not seen representation like this in a movie, and it was so beautiful and empowering. Seeing all different skin tones at one huge party where everyone gets to be fancy and enjoy themselves- was truly beautiful. To not be treated any less just because of the pigment of your skin. I found Shonda’s world incredibly enticing and even found myself tearing up, wondering what this world could have been like if race had never become an issue.
Representation for visible skin conditions
Of course, this got me thinking. I recognize the strides we have made regarding representation in skin of color. Still, we could also do a better job showing representation for the different visible skin conditions of this world. When advocating, I always think of little Linette and who she needed when she was young. We already know how skin conditions like TSW/eczema are just as much a mental health condition as they are a physical one. Can you imagine the world of difference it will make in children with visible skin conditions if and when they see their skin that is normally negatively received in real life be depicted in a totally normal way in the media? It’s food for thought!
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