There is this site, Role/ Reboot, where both Clarisse Thorn and Hugo Schwyzer write regularly. The site is supposedly devoted to issues of gender and sexuality. I don’t check it often but every now and then I see a link to it and click. This was the main page today when I checked it out.
I was all oh, finally they have brought some diversity to the site? Is this a young Black woman exploring her issues with dating? Considering the title of the post is “I’m single and they are never going to like me”, I was hoping for a personal story of singledom. So I clicked. And this is what the post looks like:
I read the post and throughout the text, I kept wondering why the author would never mention her issues with interracial relationships or “dating while non White” or, you know, what you’d expect to find if you are led to believe this is about a young Black woman. Except that the author, Hilary Sherratt? She looks like this:
And then I let out a screech because really, the only photo in the entire main page that features a WoC illustrates how this woman feels “ugly and unwanted”. Nothing in the way we choose media or look at media depictions is random. Our lens is informed by the culture in which we are immersed and the way we have been influenced by decades (or centuries as the case might be) of depicting “the Other”. That the editors of Role/ Reboot would pick this one image to associate with the title of this post says a lot about the care and attention they put when considering their choices. Because when it is about media? Nothing is innocent.