This year, I resolve to broaden my horizons. I want to think bigger, more culturally, more globally, more inclusively, more ethically. I want to challenge the status quo. For as much of 2016 as I can, I’m going to challenge the status quo specifically in terms of the media I consume. Most of the media, the economy, the government is driven by the patriarchy – straight, white, cis males. But it doesn’t have to be. I resolve to be more mindful in terms of my media consumption. For the next year, I will only read books, watch television, and view films written, produced, and directed by people who don’t identify as straight, white, cis males.
To close loopholes:
- The books I read will not be written by straight, white, cis males.
- The TV shows I watch can have a straight, white, cis male in only one of these roles: director, writer, showrunner. Other roles must be women and/or minorities. Rules apply to individual episodes.
- The movies I watch can have a straight, white, cis male in only one of these roles: director, writer, executive producer. Other roles must be women and/or minorities.
- I recognize that music is another medium driven by the cis-, white patriarchy, but I also don’t particularly consider music a part of my life. It’s just kind of “there” for me. Someone else can feel free to undertake that project.
As I write this resolution, I’m struck by the fact that I naturally feel I have to use “opposite of straight, white, cis male” to set parameters. It’s kind of disgusting that the patriarchal power structure is so engrained in how we communicate that this is necessary.
And that’s what this project is fighting. How much richer would our culture be if we more readily consumed media that didn’t so comfortably fit what we’re used to? What is there for me to learn from people who don’t sit at the top of my society’s power structure? People with experiences different from what I’m used to?
It’s not like I exclusively consumed media produced by straight white dudes before 2016. I’m just endeavoring to prove that a more inclusive media industry has the potential to lead to greater cultural inclusiveness and understanding.
The Force Awakens will have to wait until 2017. As will season 6 of Game of Thrones. Mad Men won’t be in my “recently watched” Netflix queue for the first time since June 2012. No reruns of The Office, no The Bachelor. White dudes have done some pretty fantastic things for the zeitgeist in the past – I certainly can’t deny that. But we can do better. My life will be just as culturally delightful as it was in previous years.
This resolution won’t be easy to keep (but also not as impossible as 2013’s resolution to stop burning my mouth on hot beverages). It’s actually going to hurt. But I’m fairly confident I’ll look back on my 2016 New Year’s Resolution as a positive, enriching experience. I appreciate your accountability and encouragement as I set and strive toward my goal. Comment with book/TV/film suggestions – and feel free to join me in this experiment!
(Full disclosure: I’m not looking for people to agree with me. I’m looking to start a conversation. If you have opinions about this project, don’t hold back.)