I recently wrote a paper on how racial diversity is used and displayed throughout the first three seasons of the New Who Series. Looking at this was very interesting and I learned a lot. I looked at the history of race in the UK along with the current state of race issues in the UK. This gave me a basis of why Doctor who lacks in racial diversity at times. Throughout this blog post I want to talk about other forms of diversity I found while watching more Doctor Who episodes for class. I found a good amount of gender diversity while watching Doctor Who. The Doctor is a male and the companions is typically a female, but other jobs that are present in the show do not seem to have gender specific roles. You see males in roles that are typically seen as female jobs and you have females who are in what we would typically consider masculine roles. This is something that I like about the show because it is different than a lot of other shows on television. Through the recent episodes I saw which were the eleventh and twelfth doctor, there was a lot more racial diversity than what was there in the start of the new who. You saw many different ethnic groups. In the first few seasons of the new who it seemed that the only racial diversity was a black male here or there. Now it seems that there are several different ethnicities present in Doctor Who. There were some points in the show where I noticed stereotypical ethnic jobs. There were a couple scenes where the real-life doctor would be someone of the Asian or Indian heritage which to me seemed stereotypical. We have discussed that the goal of this show is not to display diversity, but it makes the show more enjoyable that they do. In our society, today we expect to see diversity and when we do not see diversity it is weird. It was completely opposite of this a long time ago. I have enjoyed watching and interpreting the plot of Doctor Who and the diversity that exists in the show. I have now become more aware of diversity throughout the media which is something that is important to me now. I hope to continue to interpret other shows that I see along with other pieces of the media in the future.
Diversity in Doctor Who has been an interesting experience for me. When signing up for this section of IS 201, I was not certain what to expect. Before coming to class, I had never read or seen series of Doctor Who. Although I have not enjoyed watching the episodes, I have been able to relate different experiences in the show to reality in our society. Talking about different shows in relation to Doctor Who has allowed me to understand different portions of the show.
Some of the episodes related to topics that interested me which made them more interesting to prepare for. For example, The Shakespeare Code was an extremely interesting episode because I love storytelling and literature. Their ability to use historical events and works and turn it into a different theme is engaging. Episodes involving the angels relate to my interest with the Salem Witch Trials. The presentation regarding the historical events and how the witches and angels in Doctor Who relate to some of the history made the show more engaging.
I enjoyed writing the fan fiction piece more than I had initially thought. Although it was over a topic regarding Doctor Who, I loved having a creative writing element and outlet. After deciding to write from the viewpoint of the average citizen, I was able to relate to my own character in my form of writing. For example, coming into class I was knowledgeable about all things Doctor Who and still have various questions about episodes and details. Just like my character, I knew little about the Doctor, but was interested in his abilities.
Diversity in Doctor Who has allowed me to think about diversity in terms of generation, tradition, and interests that are not as common. It has opened up a different element of thinking and brainstorming that has helped me grow in knowledge of culture. I have learned multiple different tactics to identify aspects of culture and diversity in different environments and countries. For example, my final project has allowed me to research diversity in different countries and their mannerisms regarding social strategies. Doctor Who has been a medium for me in my research regarding tradition, generation, and expression.
Although I have not enjoyed the show, I have appreciated the amount of diversity I have been exposed to regarding different interests and personality types. I have been able to relate information from this class to my other major formed classes regarding learning styles, diversity, and the ability to understand interests.
Wartburg college is one of the institutions that provide a variety of opportunities to learn with people of different race, age, classes, religion and sexual identities. There are students from more than 51 countries such the United States, Swaziland, Nigeria, Japan, China, Malaysia, and other countries. There are professors and some members of staff from different countries also.Though a large percentage of students and staff are from the United States. There is a relatively equal balance between males and females and the college is ranked #286 in male to female nationwide.Undergraduate students range in age of 18 to 22.
When students arrive on campuses there will be having different personalities and perspectives already fully formed and still malleable.This sense of self-knowledge is sharpened with exposure and close contact with others whose life experiences are on the opposite spectrum.Engaging with others whose opinions, customs and personal lifestyles differ sharply from your own increases one’s self-insight.This type of exposure helps students to make informed decisions about their career directions which is an advantage of attending a diverse school.
Other advantages of attending schools with more diverse enrolment are that students get exposed to people they wouldn’t meet from backgrounds they may not otherwise encounter. One can make a lot of friends with different people from different races and backgrounds. A more diverse campus also means for more interesting clubs with minority populations coming together to celebrate their uniqueness.Promoting diversity in schools helps students accept diversity and promote it in their daily lives. A school administration degree readies graduates for promoting and teaching diversity as a means of accepting it. Educators can help students better understand that while everyone is different, in the most fundamental ways, everyone is the same and should be treated with respect.
Also, diverse college experience will enhance students to think of their careers based on a global perspective.No matter what career one chooses to pursue, employers, coworkers, customers, and clients will come from different backgrounds. Exposure to a diverse environment in school lays the foundation for a global perspective and helps the student learn how to interact with different people from different backgrounds.For example in Doctor who the actors are from different backgrounds, races and their ages are different also. In the first episode, the doctor looks older than Rose and Rose is white whilst Mickey is black but they were in a relationship. Despite all of these differences they could understand each other and work together as a team.
Most of us took sex education sometime between elementary and high school during the awkward years we call “the teen years”. Most of us remember the class being uncomfortable, awkward, and even giggle worthy at times. However, for some students the class was even more awkward and uncomfortable than for the rest.
A lot of sex ed classrooms in the U.S. are very withholding and stingy about what information they give students concerning sex and reproduction. Some schools refuse to teach it at all, while others give a short presentation over one class period. Some do better, though. They talk about the biology, consent, and how to use protection. Still, almost all schools will only cover two topics when it comes to sex education: reproduction and heterosexuality. And while it’s important that these subjects get covered, gay, bi, pan, ace, and trans students are largely left in the dark. This often makes it extremely difficult for non-heterosexual/non-cis people to come to terms with their identity. And important terms about sexuality and gender can go unknown for years, causing a lot of confusion and frustration both inside and out of the LGBT+ community.
Now, I’m not saying sex ed classrooms should introduce nsfw images and videos of different kinds of sexual situations in order to teach about these different subjects. I am, however, saying that gay sex and straight sex should be talked about in the same manner, discussing the importance of consent and protection in both cases. Many gay, bi, and pan relationships do not use protection during sex because they believe they don’t need it. This is why the number of STDs in the LGBT+ community is so high. Rape is also an underrated concern in the LGBT+ community. Whether it’s non-consensual sex or “corrective rape” these types of sexual assaults often go unreported by LGBTQIA+ victims because they don’t understand what proper consent means for non-heterosexual relationships or situations. These problems can help be corrected by discussing other types of sexual relationships in the sex ed classroom.
It’s time to crush heteronormativity, and one way that can be achieved is by discussing other types of attraction the same way we talk about straight attraction in the classroom. A half hour presentation over other forms of sexual and romantic attraction is all it would take to help normalize non-straight sexualities. In the same way, a short presentation on the differences between gender and sex would help trans and nonbinary people come to terms with their identity, and help cis people understand what it means for someone to not identify with their assigned gender. Simply acknowledging in the sex ed classroom that other sexual, romantic, and gender identities exist outside the cishet world we’re taught to live in can do wonders in helping achieve equality and understanding.
So, I’m sitting here writing my last blog post of the semester. I’ve got COPS going on in the background and I’m thinking about the end of the semester and of course Christmas with Wartburg. And I’m thinking about our Inquiry Studies class.
Looking at a picture of our class you might not see a lot of diversity. Maybe there is some diversity in clothing or hair styles. There will be some diversity in race, but not a lot.
But if you look into our class more you would see lots of diversity. We more than likely have some diversity in economics. We don’t all come from the same background. Some of us come from higher socioeconomic levels than others. Yet we are all still here at Wartburg sitting in the same 7:45 Inquiry Studies class. We are all diverse in the majors we chose. We are diverse in the television shows that we like or the music we enjoy listening to.
We are diverse on our politics. Some of us may be more on the right while others may be on the left. There are so many different things about us in our IS class, yet we are all in the same age group. We are all going to Wartburg College and we are all in the same 7:45 IS class.
This can be said for the world as well. None of us are the same. Not friends, not siblings, not even twins. We all have our own feelings and views, yet we are all here living on the earth. Some of us practice Catholicism while others are practicing Muslims. There is so much diversity, but we all need to remember that we are people. Everyone has feelings and dreams and we all need to treat each other fairly. We must keep our diversities in mind and respect everyone.
Last year a friend of mine introduced me to the strange theatrical world of WWE wrestling. At first, I only went twice a week to hang out with friends and enjoy some down time. As time went on though, I began to get curious about the wrestling moves and the odd story lines. My friend has been watching since he was young and knows just about everything there is to know about the WWE universe so he tried his best to fill me in. Let me tell you, there are some strange happenings in this sport. There was the time that Vince McMahon, the owner of the WWE company, and his son Shane McMahon had a tag team match with The Heart Break Kid Shawn Michaels and his partner the Lord. You read that right, there was a legit WWE tag team match where one of the contenders was God, when God came out there was just a spot light that ran down the ramp to the ring, one of the funniest things I have ever seen. The Undertaker, one of the most famous wrestlers of all time, is essentially an undead wizard! Randy Orton, another popular wrestler, burned down the house of an opponent with the corpse of his dead sister inside. You cannot make these things up! I went to a couple of live shows, and it is amazing to see these people do acrobatics in real life, I don’t know how they can jump off the top rope and not actually hurt the other person. They also are super good with the children that come to watch the shows. Once they brought a little kid into the ring to hold the belt, it was so cute. With the strange drama aside, this sport is surprisingly diverse. The Smackdown tag team champions at the moment are a pair of Samoan Brothers, the tag team champs on Raw are two immigrants, one from Ireland and one from Sweden. The women’s division has a multitude of women of color. Alicia Fox, Sasha Banks, and Naomi are all black women who have held championship belts. Asuka is an undefeated female wrestler from Japan who is still learning English. The men’s division is no different with wrestlers from many different countries and of all races. There are guys from, Russia, Japan, Sweden, Canada, and people of color from all over the U.S.. So if anyone is looking for a fun live event that has athleticism and some theatrical drama, I highly recommend tuning in to Raw or Smackdown next week.
Too many times I see and hear people complain about diversity within a show, movie, or book. Often times it goes something like this: “I don’t have a problem with (insert minority here), but I hate how (minority group) makes such a big deal about it” or “It’s fine if you’re (insert minority here), but I don’t get why it has to be in every single (movie, show, book) now days”. Well, I’ll tell you why, and the answer really is quite simple: representation matters.
If you’re a minority, chances are you don’t see yourself represented a lot in movies, shows, books, video games, etc. And being represented accurately or in a non harmful way is even rarer. So for minorities, seeing themselves represented accurately in their favourite show is a big deal.
And it’s especially important for children (minorities or not) to see all kinds of diversity on the screen from a young age. A child who grows up watching shows with many different kinds of diversity is more likely to be more tolerant and understanding. But the children it impacts the most are the ones who belong to minority groups. A gay child watching a show with LGBT+ characters is taught that there’s nothing shameful about being gay. A black child watching a show with POC characters is inspired to become whatever they want to be. A young girl watching a show with female characters is strengthened and empowered.
For adult minorities it’s a bit different. Often times seeing representation on television is a great reminder that there’s no reason to be ashamed of who you are. Some groups of adult minorities though have never or very rarely see their respective group portrayed on television, so when a character does represent them it can be shocking and emotive. For the first time, they finally see someone like them in their favourite show, book, movie, or video game.
If you still don’t understand why representation is so important, try thinking about it this way. Think of the colour of your hair. I’ll use brown as the example. Imagine that only one or two of your friends have brown hair, maybe none of them do. You hear and see a lot of comments that people with brown hair are mean, they say that people with brown hair are stuck up and only care about themselves. Some people even say that people with brown hair don’t exist because they’ve never seen a brown-haired person. But you know that’s not true. At least you think so. You’re not mean or stuck up, right? You did stand up for yourself the other day, but that wasn’t being mean, right? Maybe it was. Maybe you are as stuck up as people say. But you do exist. When you think about yourself you think about your brown hair. It’s really there, right? Or maybe you’re just pretending to have brown hair. Did something happen when you were younger that turned your hair brown? Are you sure you aren’t mistaking your brown hair for black hair? You probably just want to feel special so you say you have brown hair, but you really don’t.
Then, one day while you’re watching your favourite show, a brown-haired character is suddenly introduced. And you’re in shock because that character is like you. And they aren’t mean and they aren’t stuck up, and they aren’t faking having brown hair. Can you imagine how happy you’d feel to finally see someone like you on tv, especially after hearing and seeing so many comments stereotyping who you are? This character finally shows what it’s like to be a brown-haired person. This character reminds you that you aren’t alone.
This is what it feels like for many minorities to see themselves represented on the screen. Hopefully you can imagine what a big deal this would be and why minorities demand that they see more of themselves on television.
Lastly, diversity isn’t just about minorities. Television shows, books, and movies that showcase minority groups help raise awareness among majorities. For example, searches on Google that contained the word “asexuality” spiked to the highest it’s ever been after Todd from BoJack Horseman came out as asexual in September 2017. Because BoJack Horseman decided to feature a minority many more people are now aware of a term they probably didn’t know before. Like the asexual community, many other minority groups benefit from people actually knowing who they are and that they exist. And all groups of minorities benefit greatly when a character representing them is not shown in a negative and harmful light.
In conclusion, representation matters. Minority groups get so worked up because they often don’t have good representation to be satisfied with all the time. What makes them a minority also makes them who they are. It’s a lot easier to feel good about yourself when you’re given good representation.