Sometimes I read an article that demands: WE need MORE DIVERSITY!
There are also those posts with colorful charts to show the tiny percentage of covers representing people of diversity. There’s outrage over a book with a clearly dark-skinned main character who has been lightened a few shades like a tooth-whitening commercial.
Author Ellen Oh has decided to do more.
Here’s her Tumbler campaign LINK.
This is a 3-day campaign with something new each day. I hope you participate.
Even though I’m not a person of color, I in a very small way remember not feeling represented as a child and teen.
I noticed when most of the superheroes in cartoons were men.
I remember reading Beverly Cleary’s Fifteen. When I realized the girl in the book had short, dark curly hair that frizzed, I did a double-take. Then why did the girl on the cover have blonde hair? Why couldn’t she look like she was supposed to look? Was having brown curly short hair really THAT BAD?
And I think her eyes were brown in the book too.
I had brown curly hair and brown eyes. And I paid attention to what the media showed me. When I grew up, blondes with blue eyes ruled and brunettes played the sidekick. Those blondes had straight or wavy hair. "Three’s Company" was just one example.
And don’t even get me started on Barbie. By the time they made a brunette version, I’d outgrown playing with dolls.
If there was a brunette who broke the mold, I noticed. Everyone knew that Farah Fawcett ruled Charlie’s Angels, but at least Jacqueline Smith wasn’t a sidekick. Wonder Woman and Princess Leia gave me powerful brunettes. Sigourney Weaver was not only a powerful woman, but she also carried the movie.
Then Flashdance came out—a woman with curly hair was the attractive star.
(Didn’t they do a terrible job with the stunt-double’s curly hair?)
As a girl of European descent, if I felt like that with many representations of people like me on billboards and TV shows and books, then what do Asian, Indian, Muslim, Native American, African American, and Hispanic youth think when they see covers of books?
Where are they?
I was a kid a looonnnng time ago.
So much has changed.
Let our stories and our covers finally reflect us in all our varied glory.
Speaking of, before I heard about this campaign, I had chosen early May to promote Medeia Sharif’s new book. Two years ago, she was on my BLOG for Bestest Ramadan Ever.
Now Snip, Snip Revenge is OUT! Perfect timing for Ellen Oh’s campaign.
SNIP, SNIP REVENGE by Medeia Sharif
YA Contemporary, Evernight Teen
Release Date April 25, 2014
Beautiful, confident Tabby Karim has plans for the winter: nab a role in her school’s dramatic production, make the new boy Michael hers, and keep bigoted Heather—with her relentless Ay-rab comments—at bay. When a teacher’s lie and her father’s hastiness rob her of her beautiful hair, her dreams are dashed. The fastest barber in Miami Beach has made her look practically bald.
With all her pretty hair gone, Tabby doesn’t believe she fits the feminine role she’s auditioning for. Michael is still interested in her, but he’s playing it cool. Heather has taken to bullying her online, which is easier to do with Tabby’s ugly haircut. Tabby spearheads Operation Revenge, which proves satisfying until all of her problems deepen. After messing up, she sets to make things right.
I’m a Kurdish-American author
who was born in New York City, and I presently call Miami my home. I received
my master’s degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. After becoming
a voracious reader in high school and a relentless writer dabbling in many
genres in college, I found my niche writing for young people. Today I'm a MG
and YA writer published through various presses. In addition to being a writer,
I'm a middle school English teacher. My memberships include Mensa, ALAN, and
Join Medeia's giveaway to celebrate the release of her latest novel.