You hear it everywhere, don't you? There needs to be more racial diversity! More women in leading roles in film and television! More stories about the LBGT community! It's common to hear it everywhere you go, and it's even more common to hear people complain about how sick of all of it they are. But let's put things into some perspective. Why is diversity so important? Why do we NEED to have more women playing lead characters in movies, why do we NEED to have more stories about civil rights and transgender issues?
There has to be more diversity simply because diversity is what causes an artform to reach its full potential. Let's relate this to film. There is a huge gender disparity when it comes to fulfilling lead roles, directors, editors, producers, writers, etc. So what happens? These voices aren't heard. There is an entire demographic that is left out, meaning there is an entire demographic whose own personal experiences, stories, and personalities aren't being shared.
As a result, you tend to see the same stories, same actors, and same experiences being told over and over again because they're being told by the exact same people. Any artform that does this tends to develop trends that others try to imitate, which then becomes the absolute opposite of innovation, and we end up with a billion versions of the same story (Boring!). By simply adding the voices of women, ethnic minorities, and the LBGT/transgender communities, we have blown the door wide open to introduce stories and experiences that havn't been told before. And we think that's pretty cool.
In another sense, not having these stories be shared on a larger platform creates a culture that is severely limited in empathy, world views, and diversified experiences. Remember when Blackfish came out and how it caused an uproar? Blackfish, a recently released documentary detailing the captivity and mistreatment of orcas by Seaworld, led to outrage by millions, causing Seaworld's attendance numbers and overall reputation to decline. In a recent court proceeding. Seaworld San Diego is now no longer allowed to breed, sell, transfer, or trade their orcas, a huge win for the animal rights community.
As you can see, film, television, video games, books- whatever the platform is- causes the audience to think differently, to see the world differently. We are slightly shaped by these experiences. Imagine how much more empathy there would be in the world if women, minorities, and other groups who do not get to share their experiences as widely as they would like would be given the opportunity to tell their stories? A great example is the recent series on the Humans of New York (HONY) Facebook page, where the stories of Syrian refugees are being shared and seen by millions.
And finally, diversity is important in the arts because we need to show the world that anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, disability, and sexual orientation, can do what we do and make an impact on the world.
To summarize, everyone is different, and everyone has something unique to bring to the table. By having a less diversified art, we lose innovation, freshness, and the true potential of that artform is never truly revealed. We've come a long way, but there is so much more to be done.
WFI wants you to know how important this issue is to us, and how we're working to bring more diversity as well! WFI hopes to prepare women composers for when they enter the film industry so that their musical voices can be heard! With weekly presentations on the latest technology, Skype interviews with women already in the industry, constructive crtiques on each other's music, the newly implemented Mentorship Program, and a thriving relationship with Emerson's Women In Motion and other female filmmaking communities, we hope to bring more diversity in the world of film, games, and television.
Wishing you all a wonderful October!