On Erasure and Misrepresentation
Representation is crucial concerning questions of justice and equity. The way a group is perceived by others dictates the way they will be positioned in society. This is a fact which has been modeled consistently throughout history. Those who are perceived as inherently criminal are more likely to be abused by the justice system, as in the case of Black people in the United States, while those who are viewed as inherently weak are less likely to access positions of power, as in the case of women around the world. This pattern illustrates the importance of perception and therefore representation. Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication on the Rights of Woman, the Revisionaries documentary, Herodotus’ Histories, and the U.S. Constitution all illustrate the ability of a few people to dictate the positioning of various groups in society based entirely on the way individuals represent or misrepresent said groups. Although representation ostensibly implies increased visibility, when the available images are limited, those with platforms can use representation as a means of erasing or subjugating hitherto underrepresented groups.
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