“Good Representation” Concerning Diversity in (YA) Books: Better None or Forced/Wrong? Different Experiences?

The world is hugely diverse.

Obviously??? You’ve probably noticed by now, but you are DEFINITELY not the same as the person sitting next to you. Even if they’re your identical twin (WHICH IS SO COOL BTW), your personalities are probably different. There are tiny smol things that set you apart.

And because books are aiming to be as realistic as possible, you want to include diversity in your own book*, because it accurately reflects the world!

But… is that diversity always portrayed correctly?

The definite answer is: No.

I don’t know if y’all know this, but I’m a HUGEEEE supporter of equality of all people in the world, no matter their differences. Thus I am a big advocate for diversity in (YA) books.

The things that I’m talking about in this post are things that I’ve always thought about (and even touched a bit on in this post! but that post was an absolute mess and my have opinions have changed now. this post is so much better omg).

*I’m aware that there were some recent heated discussions about diversity and how “realistic” it is on Twitter. I will be avoiding that because I don’t like conflict. And yet I’m writing this post.

flowers

is NO diversity better than WRONG or FORCED diversity?

This was something I talked about in the post I linked above. And it’s something I STILL ask myself about.

Would I rather have no diversity at all, or would I rather have some or a lot of diversity, but have it be completely wrong or forced?

Of course, it’s unrealistic that there is no diversity AT ALL in a book. But is that better than possibly harmful diversity?

In the case of possibly harmful diversity, I say YES, no diversity is better. Like. If you have the options of 1) throwing rocks in the air and potentially hitting someone in the head, or 2) not throwing anything at all, would you take option 1?? Yes. NO.

Image result for throw rocks gif
wow same

Anything that is misrepresented can be super hurtful. (See the below section for a rant on different experiences, and how “wrong” rep for one person may be “accurate” rep for another.) It doesn’t portray someone in the correct way.

Or if it’s not hurtful, it’s unrelatable. Because, again, we all have different experiences! But just because it doesn’t represent US PERSONALLY doesn’t mean that it will HURT us, and neither does it mean that it doesn’t accurately represent someone ELSE.

For example, I read a book called Girl on the Verge (it was meh), and it had a Thai main character. This is the FIRST EVER book I’ve read that has a Thai character. Her Khun Yai, her grandma, wanted her to be a “good Thai girl” and follow tradition and blah blah blah.

But I personally have NEVER been expected to be a “good Thai girl”?? My family only wants me to be a “good girl”. I’m failing.

So in this case of “wrong”, but not hurtful, diversity, I say that the fact that there IS diversity is MORE APPRECIATED than none at all. Because while the Thai rep didn’t represent me personally, it was still THERE. And I appreciated that.

That doesn’t mean it’s better tho—just more appreciated.

(P.S. My lovely friend Elise wrote a post about mixed rep that kinda shares the same vibes as this post?? So definitely go check it out!)

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Forced diversity is when it gets tricky.

Say that there’s an author. Her name is Ms. Author. (I’M SO CREATIVE I KNOW.) Now, Ms. Author is a popular author. She writes her book, gets it published, and then BAM, the reading community is bashing her for having characters that are all white.

So in her next book, Ms. Author writes in characters that AREN’T white. Yay! She’s appealing to the fans!*

But if it wasn’t naturally-written-into-the-book diversity, and Ms. Author didn’t WANT it or even think about it until the fans complained about it, is that better than no diversity at all???

TO ME, it comes down to whether that is harmful or not. If you can tell the rep is forced and it hurts you, or if the rep is really bad and not developed, then OBVIOUSLY having no rep at all is better. (In my opinion.)

But if you can’t tell that the diversity is forced??? And it’s not hurtful or offensive to the majority of the people it represents???

I HONESTLY DON’T KNOW.

#MayIsSoKnowledgeable

Image result for i'm really smart gif

(This is the reason why I’m writing this post, so I can steal your knowledge see your perspectives.)

*And this goes back to the whole “diversity is a box on a checklist you have to check off” thing I was talking about in my old old crappy post.

flowers

can we ever truly write GOOD representation?

In my opinion: No.

Everyone in the world has different experiences. Someone may love flying, but another person might be terrified of it because their sister died in a car crash. Someone may love to eat mangoes, but another person might hate it for some weird dumb reason.

WHY WOULD THEY HATE MANGOES THO. THERE’S LITERALLY NOTHING WRONG WITH THEM. NOTHING.

Image result for i love mangoes gif
me @ all the haters

Mangoes aside, the point is that everyone has different opinions and thoughts and emotions and feelings and EXPERIENCES. And we have different experiences regarding our differences as well!

One of the best examples I can think of is mental illness. I have anxiety (at least, self-diagnosed). I’ve never gotten panic attacks (thankfully): I’ve just had instances where my heart beats faster, my stomach hurts pretty bad, situations where I feel so overwhelmed & pressured & stressed out, and more. (Mine is pretty mild, physically.)

But someone else who has anxiety may have severe panic attacks. They may be actually unable to do certain things because fear or worries hold them back.

So obviously, if that “someone else” reads a book about someone with anxiety but doesn’t get panic attacks, it won’t be “good rep” for them. BUT. That doesn’t mean it isn’t good rep for OTHER people.

Even if it’s horrible rep for you, that NEVER means that it doesn’t accurately portray someone else. Even if a majority of people say that it’s bad rep, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t correctly portray just ONE PERSON.

In that case, readers just need to be aware that the book doesn’t represent a majority of people.

So no, I personally believe that there will never be a book that can portray EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. ACCURATELY. and therefore be “good representation”, because everyone has different experiences!! And that’s OKAY!!!

flowers

in conclusion?

I personally believe that no diversity is BETTER when the diversity in the book is potentially harmful, whether it be “wrong” or forced. But I also believe that having diversity that doesn’t represent you PERSONALLY but isn’t hurtful is better than no diversity at all. And if it’s forced but it’s developed well/not hurtful… I DON’T KNOW.

I personally believe that there will never be “good representation”, for everyone, because we all have different experiences.

Full disclaimer: Whenever I talk about things I’m super passionate about, I tend to ramble and my words get all jumbled. So if I said ANYTHING that sounds like the opposite of what I’m trying to convey or is hurtful to anyone, PLEEEEEASE let me know so I can fix it ASAP!

Another disclaimer: I haven’t received any mean comments about stuff regarding my opinions (THANK GOD), but if you disagree with me: Please stay civilized and polite! I’ll respect your opinion as long as you respect mine. I feel like this is a really touchy subject haha. If you want a debate, we can have one, as long as it doesn’t get nasty.


shall we chat

this is a super ranty post, so i hope you could make some sense of it? (i myself don’t even know what i’m saying hahah) what are YOUR perspectives on “good rep” in books? is it better to have forced, incorrect, or no diversity at all? will we ever accomplish “good rep”?

p.s. thank you all SO SO MUCH for 1,000 followers!!! it means the WORLD to me and i love you all very much <333

sign off 2.0

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78 thoughts on ““Good Representation” Concerning Diversity in (YA) Books: Better None or Forced/Wrong? Different Experiences?

  1. i agree, no diversity is better than forced or wronged one! and i think we should keep in mind that diversity is so vast and diverse! whether in body shape the way of thinking and so on. we can’t ask for diversity and wanting to be diverse in only one thing. maybe an author chooses to be diverse when it comes to sexuality or another to race or religion , if an author chooses to combine all those in one story that’s good, but if another chooses to be diverse in perhaps religion only, so it can serves the story that’s good too. all i’m saying is that before we say this book is diverse or not we should see what the author is trying to deliver through the story and what type of diversity she\he is writing about.
    great post BTW 3<

    Liked by 2 people

  2. CONGRATS ON 1000 FOLLOWERS! THAT’S AMAZINGLY AWESOME, MAY! YOU TOTALLY DESERVE IT! ❤️❤️❤️🎉🎉🎉

    Ahem. Okay, back to the post! If I’m left to freely choose, I’d probably opt for neither and say a good book needs correct rep of balanced/moderate diversity that the author is actually willing to include in the story. #GOALS

    BUT, if I’m restricted to the choices you’ve mentioned above, then I believe I’d choose NO diversity – meaning I agree with you. Why? Bceause there’s nothing wrse than having bad/incorrect rep of diversity or an author creating a character/scenario that he/she doesn’t want to be there. Because, believe me, us bookworms find out when an author is forced to include something within the story. We feel it, and we immediately know it. (Am I making any sense here?)

    So, yeah, this is my opinion! Really Enjoyed Reading This! 😍 We should definitely be more diverse in EVERYTHING – not just books too! *wink wink*😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. AGHAHGHA THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! ❤️❤️

      OH YASSS. That’s an awesome statement! I think my viewpoints have already changed from when I wrote the post haha — I think a good book should have mostly correct rep that the author is willing to include (like you said). And YES EXACTLY. I mean, I personally think that if ~I~ can’t relate to the rep, that doesn’t mean it’s bad?? But yessss, sometimes I can just feel when it’s forced. (Tho sometimes I can’t, but probably because I’m bad at reading into anything ahaha.)

      I’m hoping that all sorts of things will become diverse as well (like movies and TV shows)!

      Like

  3. OMG, I agree SO MUCH with you. No diversity is better than bad diversity because bad diversity is just… like… no. Stereotyping. If something isn’t natural, don’t do it. I’m reading this ARC right now (it’s terrible) and so far there’s been a POC character who talks in jive-speak and steals things and a middle eastern character who is a bully and super religious and I just… no? All the white characters are pretty good unstinting people though. … … … *smashes things* Seriously this is one of the worst ARCs I’ve read and I’m being quite salty about it in my Goodreads updates, BUT IT PROVES YOUR POINT SO WELL.

    Badly done diversity does so much more harm than good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yesss EXACTLY! I mean, obviously “bad” rep doesn’t represent US, but it could represent others — so in some cases bad rep is okay??? Imo. Just as long as it’s not hurtful or misrepresents the MAJORITY of people. And ugh nooo that’s horrible! Stereotyped people are the worst — the author didn’t do their research. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love seeing diversity in YA books, and I have always said I want to see more diversity in books (honestly there’s a lot I want to see more of in books) but I do think forcing diversity is the wrong way to go about it. It needs to feel real or it doesn’t count as diverse in my mind. If an author is adding diverse characters simply for the sake of ticking a box in their story then it just kind of cheapens it a little you know, and like you said can end up being harmful.
    I definitely agree that there is never going to be a book that represents everyone perfectly. I have anxiety attacks too and I do get panic attacks (although it’s been a while since my last really bad one I know I could still get one, I just try and remove myself from the situations that cause them) so a book that speaks to me on that subject may not be good representation for you.
    Great post May, I agree with pretty much everything you said and I loved reading your thoughts on this topic as well. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah, definitely. Natural diversity will ALWAYS be better than forced diversity. A lot of the time, you can feel when the author forces it (tho I haven’t had that yet). Adding diversity just to have diversity is the absolute WORST!!

      Yesss, exactly! If a character has panic attacks and it’s written well, you might think it’s great rep, but I wouldn’t personally connect to it because I’ve never had that experience! But for me, I think I’d be fine with that rep anyways because it at least reps me in SOME way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t had it either I don’t think, but I do feel like there are some books out there where the diversity does feel a little forced, even if it’s not just the author including diverse characters for the sake of it you know? 🙂
        Yes, I definitely agree, even if it’s not representation we can connect to it’s still representative and that’s so important! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I HAD TO TYPE THIS COMMENT THREE TIMES BC THIS PAGE KEPT RELOADING so I hope you appreciate my dedication lol.

    but long story (comment?) short: bad diversity sucks but also you can’t satisfy everyone?? so the whole Thai rep being wrong thing in the beginning confused me?? like I get the same thing for Chinese people, but as long as it’s not annoyingly stereotypical a lot of grandparents ARE like that so it confused me??

    ahem.

    But seriously great post May!! ALSO CONGRATS ON 1K LOVE!! ILYSM AND IM SO PROUD OF YOU POTATO CHIPS / WILD BOAR IN A WOODLAND CLEARING / I-KNOW-YOUR-NAME-BUT-I-SHALL-BE-A-GOOD-FRIEND-AND NOT-SAY-IT / FELLOW HAMILTRASH PERSON ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I APPRECIATE YOUR DEDICATION VERY MUCH SARAH DEAR ❤

      and ugh sorry it's all confusing 😭 I was trying to say that the rep didn't represent ME personally, but that 1) doesn't mean it wasn't hurtful and 2) doesn't mean it didn't represent others (look at me being confusing again)

      THANK YOU SO MUCH SARAH / PRINCESS DUDE!!! and well I know what your face looks like so 😈😈

      Liked by 1 person

  6. There should definitely be more diversity, but not forced diversity. And yes, character reps will only represent some people and not all which I think is an important thing for readers to remember because hating on a character rep just because they don’t represent you is hating on a diverse character which likely represents another reader.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, exactly!! That’s why I always try to make it clear in reviews of books that represent me that while it doesn’t represent ME personally, it could represent other people! And I wish more people did that because reviews saying that the rep didn’t represent them at all & was totally incorrect scares off a lot of people that the book might ACTUALLY represent!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is an amazing post May, and I completely agree with you. I think that well done diversity is a really, really important thing, but I think if it’s hurtful, then that’s probably far worse than no diversity at all…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with you so much! I wish diversity was present in more books. Since diversity is just a normal part of real life, it seems like it should be just a normal part of real life in books, too, but for some reason it’s just not always that way.
    Anyway, great post, and congrats on 1000 followers! That’s so amazing! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love this post so much, May! I completely agree with you, diversity is so important, we all need more of it, because it’s more representative of the world overall. That being said, when it’s done with no research, no sentivity readers or something, it can end up being wrong and harmful, well, no, no, no. In that case, it’s just better not to put diversity there. If it’s harmful, I think it’s even worse than no diversity at all.
    I also agree that it is so hard to find representation that is right for everyone. You might find yourself here and there in some representations, in some books, but never entirely.
    Congratulations on 1000 followers, May, this is SO amazing, so proud of you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, exactly. No diversity is always better than hurtful diversity, because reading a book only to be harmed by it?? That’s absolutely horrible! Plus it shows that the author doesn’t really care, which can also be really hurtful to the character. And yes!! I can find rep in some books where others couldn’t, and vice versa, and that’s completely okay!

      AJ;DLKFASL THANK YOU SO MUCH, MARIE!!! 💖💖

      Liked by 1 person

  10. AGH AMAZING POST! You are making me think, wow.

    So people say there is no such thing as “forced” diversity. And i saw a whole thread on twitter about this (not part of the twitter drama btw) and it was really eloquently put. Essentially what the tweets were saying in less coherent words, that if you are saying diversity is “forced” then you are assuming that all your characters are white, cis, able-bodied etc…And that by saying diversity is forced and added it’s saying diverse people don’t exist IRL and you have to FORCE diversity, saying that you have to change a white cis person to an Asian, saying that your normal and without “diversity” character is a white person which is stupid because WE EXIST IN REAL LIFE. I don’t know if I am making sense.sorry.

    Other people also argue that LBGTQ+, POCs etc… shouldn’t exist “for a reason”. like, do you ask people “why are you black? what’s the PURPOSE of you? What do YOu ADD TO THE BOOK/LIFE?” Like, No, You wouldn’t. They exist and they are not there to make life more “diverse”. So that’s an argument too.

    So, my take on diversity in books? My opinions have evolved over time. Firstly I don’t think you should read books FOR THE SAKE OF DIVERSITY. I mean sure, if it’s representing yourself, yeahhhh okay that makes sense. But a book shouldn’t just be hyped just because it has a bisexual MC. Becuase YAY hyping queer books and then you read it and the writing, characters, and plot is just so boring and horrible. So why are you hyping that book? I mean sure if someone is asking for LGBTQ+ recommendations, you’d perhaps recommend that book but just because a book is DIVERSE does not mean it’s AMAZING and should be POPULAR and LOVED.

    And books without diversity can still be amazing! For example, Harry Potter isn’t diverse (BUT OMG IMAGINE IF IT WASSS, it would be so epic) but I still enjoyed it! Also, I see a lot of people on twitter saying, ew “straight” books, who reads them any more, I avoid straight books and that’s just?? No comment tbh.

    Diverse books are IMPORTANT. And just because the rep doesn’t represent YOU doesn’t mean it is HORRIBLE so don’t dismiss how good the book could be for someone else!

    I THINK DIVERSE BOOKS ARE AN AMAZING THINGS. But I think when an author adds in diverse characters like POC and they’re literally just THERE it’s so harmful because we just look like checkboxes and literally defined by our skin colour which is HORRIBLE.

    I don’t think we need diverse books. I THINK WE NEED GOOD EFFORTLESS DIVERSE BOOKS.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bro I’m making MYSELF think what has this become

      huh, that is a really interesting conversation! I really can see how there could be no such thing as forced diversity. wow, I literally can’t form any sentences because I’m trying to form an opinion on this lmao

      and UGH NO. not the “I’m adding diversity just to have diverse characters!!” thing ja;lkdfjalksdf

      YESSSSS I SO AGREE!! I definitely think that diverse YA books should be hyped & boosted because they’re so incredibly important. but if the plot & character work are horrible, and the rep is good, that doesn’t necessarily mean the book is good. (altho I saw a really thought-provoking review where the reviewer was saying something like “I know people say you shouldn’t give a star for diversity solely, but there is barely any of this rep and I loved it so I’m giving it another star”. which got me thinking, because if that’s a book that represents you REALLY REALLY WELL and you just loved it, doesn’t that give you the right to give another star bc of the rep?? and another fact is that people have different rating systems, so someone could be judging based on how much they loved it — which can include if they loved the rep.)

      YESS TO THE “we need good effortless diverse books” SENTIMENT!!!

      Like

  11. Agh, this was needed. For example, I have very diverse characters in my NaNo project (Indian, Syrian. Italian, etc), this was not “forced”. I didn’t include this diversity on purpose it just happened as part of the story. However, I worry that I’m not representing them right as I don’t know much about their culture and I’ve basically portrayed them all the same. Sure they all have their own personality, but nothing much to reflect their nationality. It’s. Hard. Very. Hard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yes, that’s amazing, Gracie! It’s great that the diversity comes naturally in your writing. ❤ And omg yes I TOTALLY RELATE. I'm so afraid that I'm representing them wrong because I don't know their experiences?? The best thing you can do is research or find sensitivity readers, and remember that not everyone has the same experience, so you won't be able to represent EVERYONE!!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Yep no diversity/representation is definitely better than harmful rep! Harmful rep can give people the wrong impression of whatever it’s representing, and be hurtful to those with said… representing… thing. What are words. I hope you get what I mean hahaha

    It’s IMPOSSIBLE to find a book that 100% represents someone. Like you said, we all have different experiences. We’re born in different countries and grow up with different cultures, we all have different up-bringings, different world views etc. It would also be really creepy if a book 100% represents you haha 😛 WHO’S STALKING ME

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, exactly!! No one should be hurt by something in a book, and it’s even harmful that the author believes that whatever they wrote ISN’T hurtful. (And I so agree about people getting the wrong impression of things!)

      And yes, EXACTLY. We’re all going to have different experiences, and none of us will be able to 100% relate to someone else’s! The only way for that to happen is to write a book COMPLETELY based off of yourself but like,, how does one word. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. this is a super ranty post, so i hope you could make some sense of it?:
    Yeah, it made perfect sense to me!

    what are YOUR perspectives on “good rep” in books?:
    Hmm … I don’t really have an opinion, to be honest. In my books, there’s basically not a lot of room for diversity because, hey, I’m writing about the 1880s in England. I do have some diversity in way of characters who have autism and one who is bipolar and then one with anxiety – but just mild anxiety) and … that’s about it. *hides* I’M SORRY MAY I HAVE FAILED THE WORLD. 😛 But I do try … I really do!

    And nope, I don’t honestly have a good opinion on this because I don’t read a lot of books with diversity (or contemporary … or fantasy … I know, I suck) … *sigh* I know … I need to get out of my imaginary past!

    is it better to have forced, incorrect, or no diversity at all?:
    Eh … I think everyone should try a little bit. It would be so boring if there wasn’t diversity! Like, what even would be the point if every book was about the same characters in the same place, etc. etc.? And books are a good way to teach people things … and I think books should be realistic. (I honestly wonder sometimes if books that are EXTREMELY diverse are not realistic because there aren’t that many people with all the different diversities that would be, say, in one group of friends? But I have no clue about any of that, so I don’t know …)

    will we ever accomplish “good rep”?:
    Sure! Authors just have to learn how to research better and not assume stuff about people … but it won’t be perfect for EVERYONE. Like you said, everyone’s different, and we need to write about characters unlike everyone else same as people are unlike everyone else (if that makes any sense) and so … it won’t happen 100% … just basically all you said.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah, I can definitely see how it’s hard to write diversity into 1880s in England!! It’s great that you’re including autism and anxiety and all that, tho.

      Agreed! Not only is it boring if there’s no representation in books, but it also, like you said, educates others about different people, and it also gives a voice to people who don’t normally have a voice, because they are marginalized. And yeah, I know that there are a few towns where there’s not a lot of diversity, but I still think it’s a good thing to put in the effort to add diverse characters???

      Research is SOOOOO important with diversity!! There are so many stereotypes and it’s easy to believe them. But yes, not one marginalized group will be fully represented by one book — we’re all different!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I’m doing my best, but …? I don’t even think there were a lot of races living there, other than European … Of course, there’s always room for diversity where personality/interests/etc. goes. 🙂

        Yes, true. Like, where I live there truly isn’t a lot of diversity (well, there are Hispanic people; always wanted to write a book with Hispanic characters, but I just know I’d get the culture 100% wrong! :/ ), but there is some, sooo. *should write a book about my town someday* *doesn’t want to live in the real world* XD

        Like

  14. May… this topic is so complicated. GOSH DARN IT.

    Now, I have accepted that not every book is going to at least have a character that is non white. I also agree that a person should not put diversity into their book simply because they were criticised. Because… they might end up messing it up..

    But I feel that we need more racial diversity in books so that one day it won’t be ‘diversity’ anymore. It’ll just be ‘normal’. So that’s why I hope agents will accept more POC writers? However, I heard that it’s kind of hard because of this and that. Personally, I want to be self published because I find it so hard to reach the audience I want to reach in Ireland. Because my books mainly have POC characters in a mainly white country and I don’t write romance . I would also like to write about Christian characters without making it a ‘Christian’ book. Something non Christians would consider reading. Then again, finding a kind of audience for that is HARD anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also want to include characters of different faiths but I am mainly surrounded by people who are either Christian or Atheist so that’s a challenge. I want to write about Muslim characters while also writing a little about their faith.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Ahaha, I’m mad at myself for doing this as well because I could NOT GATHER MY THOUGHTS AT ALL.

      Yes, exactly! They likely will mess the diversity up if they are doing it just for the fans or to check a checkbox. And omg yESSS EXACTLY!! I think of the term diversity as including ALL people, no matter their differences, but in the bookish world, it means marginalized people? So I would LOVE for diversity to mean just having ALL types of people in a book — and that’d be normal! Yesss POC writers are so needed in the publishing industry. And yeah, a lot of books with Christian characters are marketed as Christian books — which sucks because I know that there are some books with a Christian MC that are JUST LIKE any other book, but people don’t read them because it’s labeled as Christian?

      Liked by 1 person

  15. this is such an important post, and so many important questions!! While I agree that I’d rather have no representation rather than rep that’s actively offensive and harmful, I don’t think there’s really any definitive way to decide who gets to say what counts as “good” vs. “bad”……there are occasions where representation is unquestionably offensive and harmful (ex. American Heart), but more often it comes down to whether or not it’s accurate to the reader’s personal experience. Marginalized people aren’t monoliths, so no one piece of media is going to accurately represent the lives of everyone in a specific group. I think the key thing when evaluating the value of diverse books is to prioritize ownvoices opinions, but within that to make sure that you’re still actively seeking a variety of responses and staying open to having your own reactions challenged (especially if you aren’t a part of the group represented!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yes, I totally agree!! Everyone has their own opinions of what’s “good” or “bad” rep — and that’s completely okay, since we all have different experiences, even if we’re still in the same marginalized group. Nothing is going to represent a whole group of people because everyone has their own idea of “accuracy”. I 100% agree that #ownvoices reviews are important but readers also have to realize that their opinion does not represent ALL of the people in that minority group!!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. OMG LIKE YES!!! To it all. Literally, I would expand more, but I would be literally copying and pasting your entire post into the comments ahahah. Also, I’m petrified of saying things on the diverse topic wrong bc I dont want to say it wrong and seem rude!! But in summary: yes I totally agree with you on this post, especially about how one diversity representation will not fit with everyone and especially with things such as anxiety, depression etc, everyone is different, as you said.

    Great post, it really made me think!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahahaha, I’m glad you agree!! And omg yesss I feel like I’m going to say the wrong thing or say something offensive whenever I’m talking about really touchy subjects like this and people are going to just take it out of context??? Except the blogging world is pretty nice sooo. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  17. This is a really good post! I basically agree with you. I think there’s quite a few Ms. Author situations that really frustrate me because they feel so forced? I’m really not into that. I also really agree with your point about not every book representing everyone. Like, I’ve read quite a few books with biracial characters (Lara Jean, radio silence ) that don’t represent me as a biracial TCK, for example, but that doesn’t mean they’re inaccurate for others! Also, I don’t think a book has to have your rep in it to be relatable! Well written books should have characters anybody can root for and empathise with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, exactly! It’s like… why are you forcing diversity? It should be NATURALLY written into your book, because it is NATURAL in the world! And yes, exactly! I’ve read a lot of books with Asian rep that haven’t exactly represented me, but it probably represents other people. And oh yes, what a good point! A character repping you definitely makes them more relatable, but a good character should be relatable (or at least one we can root for) nonetheless!!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. haha I love how you did this post! I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said here. Especially you’re point about how everyone has different life experiences, so no book can be reflective of everyone all the time- but to me that’s okay, because books aren’t always just about finding our own experiences, they’re about relating to other people. Fantastic post! And mangoes are awesome by the way 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, thank you so much!! And yes, exactly! Everyone experiences & views things in life differently, so a book will never be able to represent someone correctly! Oh, that’s a great point — relating & learning about others is definitely a big part of my reading too. YASS MANGOES ARE AMAZING!! ❤

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  19. I’ve been so busy, I haven’t been reading anyone’s blogs. 😦 But HI AGAIN MAY MISS YOU GLAD TO VISIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀
    I read this post because I always notice when diversity is forced. But in my opinion, even if it IS forced, it’s good that it’s there. The author’s on his or her way to better representing diversity. You can’t get better without making mistakes, in my opinion.

    I also believe that diversity CAN be well represented. I believe it can provide deep and powerful contrasts in a story. I know a white schoolteacher who teaches music in an African-American school. His heart for the kids is beautiful. He told us how he drives a couple of the boys in his class to school every day. They’ve done life together ever since that first started. These boys went with him to pick out an engagement ring when he decided to get married, a couple years later they got to hold his first child. And it’s real life, and stories are meant to tell about life in a compelling way.

    Great post, May!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AWW HI RAYNE!! So glad you’re back. ❤

      Hmm, that's a really interesting way to think of it! But I think that sometimes, authors will force that diversity, but also not get better. You know?

      I definitely think that diversity can be well-represented — for most people! There are still going to be some people that it doesn't represent well, because everyone has different experiences. And aw, that's such a sweet story!!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. “Even if it’s horrible rep for you, that NEVER means that it doesn’t accurately portray someone else. Even if a majority of people say that it’s bad rep, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t correctly portray just ONE PERSON.”
    YES YES YES YES YES ALL THE YESES TO THIS, MAY!!
    I really wish this was something people in the book community would understand: just because something seems like crappy rep to you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t portray someone else’s experiences. I find this a lot with books with bi representation. So many times there is that stereotype of a flirty bi who is constantly flirting with both men and women. and I get why people get annoyed at that stereotype, but also THAT’S ME?? so when people call out books with a bi protagonist like that, it feels like they’re calling out me and saying me experiences aren’t valid?? I really wish people who think before they speak (or in this case, type) because they may feel like they’re doing the right thing by calling out a book for representation issues, but they might be offending someone who actually really liked that representation.

    ANYWAY (that got personal but whatever) this was such a great post!! thank you for writing such amazing discussion posts, May ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’M SO GLAD YOU AGREE, LAURA!! ❤

      Yes, exactly! I always try to make a point, when I review books that represent me (which is unfortunately not enough), to say that while it did or didn't represent me, it doesn't mean that it will be in/accurate rep for other people in the minority group!! And aww, I'm so sorry that some reviews have made your experiences feel invalid! I think lots of people who say those things do it unintentionally, which still sucks. 😦 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  21. This is a topic that really interests me. I have epilepsy, but there are so many different forms of the condition that what one person with epilepsy may experience another doesn’t. So because I don’t relate to one version, doesn’t mean it doesn’t relate to others. I think we need to make sure that we’re not harmful in our representations, but also bear in mind that we all are unique and experience things in different ways. Wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I 100% agree!! Harmful rep is DEFINITELY what we’re not going for, but I think we all must remember that 1) just because we don’t relate to it doesn’t mean it’s harmful, or 2) just because it’s harmful to us doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t relate to it. We all experience things differently and shouldn’t invalidate each other’s experiences just because they don’t match our own!

      Liked by 1 person

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