Intersectionality is the concept that in order to understand the amount of oppression one experiences in relation to others, one must first break down the amount of different disadvantage groups the individual is in. The more disadvantaged groups the individual is in, the more oppression they face. Depending on one’s race, sexual orientation, gender, and class, one may encounter far more obstacles and barriers to be successful in America than others. Within media, those who are behind the scenes tend to be of the least disadvantaged group among intersectionality- white, privileged males. Thus, the more memberships one claims in these “oppressed groups”, the less likely they are to be represented in American media.
In an overly connected generation, individuals are constantly getting the latest news updates on what is happening on both local and international levels. What tends to be forgotten, however, is the majority of news is being covered with white, heterosexual ideology in mind. Because of this, those of color and those in the LGBTQ plus community tend to be extremely underreported on- and if they are, they’re often displayed in a light that pursues a white victimization perspective.
The American commercial industry, which is also based on heteronormative, white ideologies, has recently begun to try and diversify the norms they portray in their advertisements. For example, on November 12, 2018, widely recognized corporation Macy’s came out with a Christmas ad that displayed four different families. Two of the families were both white and heteronormative- however the other two families shown were of color. One of the families showed a black, single mother with three children. The other was of a gay, black man married to a white man. While Macy claimed intent to be diversifying and representing more than the “typical norms”, they instead amplified the stereotype that those who are African American cannot achieve what is considered to be socially “normal”. Gender, race, and sexuality are often given empathy on the amount the minority groups are oppressed- however when you combine minority sexuality with a minority race, it becomes a topic few in power want to discuss. Another example of this is in an outdoor campaign called “He Said Yes”, featured in a Lloyds Bank TV ad. (Singh, 2018). In the ad, while a man is shown proposing to another, the two choose to hug after instead of kiss.
- Sun, E. (2018, August 29). The Dangerous Racialization of Crime in U.S. News Media. Retrieved from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/criminal-justice/news/2018/08/29/455313/dangerous-racialization-crime-u-s-news-media/.
- Singh, S. (n.d.). The ‘coming out’ of advertising: is LGBT representation in ads still falling short? Retrieved from https://www.campaignlive.com/article/coming-out-advertising-lgbt-representation-ads-falling-short/1436860.