League Of Women Voters Mary Warren Impact Scholarship Winner Lila Wright's Winning Essay
Why is Equal Representation important?
More than ever, the modern day demands equal representation. When one first hears the phrase “equal representation,” the connotation often refers to political representation. Representation of different races, genders, ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, and life experiences in the people that we’ve elected to lead our communities and country as a whole. This type of equal representation that one typically thinks of is extremely important; as leaders in politics are in charge of making decisions for the greater good of the community, they should absolutely be representative of the myriad of demographics our community exhibits. Still, it’s important to recognize and explore the other ways in which equal representation is equally as important.
Children grow up as mirrors of the people that surround them from a young age. They reflect the behaviors, attitudes, and ideas of those that they see most often. Just one example of this is a young person’s political beliefs; if one grows up in a primarily democratic household, they are likely to identify with the beliefs of the democratic party, and vice versa. Just as we see this reflection of surroundings in politics, children easily reflect other parts of their environments. The turn of the 21st century and the ever increasing capabilities of technology continue to enhance the prominence of media in our lives. While actors, musicians, influencers, and other public figures may only be humans like everyone else, they hold more power than one might think. Equal representation is equally as important in the media as it is in politics.
If children grow up from a young age, only ever seeing a certain specific demographic on the media, that will create stigmas and contribute to widely believed misconceptions. Only having white, middleclass, heterosexual characters as the prominent characters in most movies is extremely harmful. Anyone who doesn’t fit into that classification might start to believe they aren’t as worthy, and that they don’t reflect the personification of the ideal American.
Not only is equal representation in the media and pop culture important, it should be employed in any widely known area. Athletes, authors, musicians, artists, scientists, mathematicians, teachers, law enforcement, lawyers, and many more occupations are only a few examples of the places where equal representation is extremely important in order to foster an accepting community for all. America is often described as a “melting pot” of people, because it is home to any type of person one could imagine. Still, the question remains. How can America be accurately described as a melting pot, if every area of our country that should reflect its diversity doesn’t? If equal representation isn’t present? Equal representation is absolutely important, more than ever, to exhibit and bring out the beauty of every individual.
Lila is planning to attend college at the University of Puget Sound in Fall 2023, majoring in Gender Studies