On Mainstream Representation and Why I Have Problems With It

On Mainstream Representation and Why I Have Problems With It

First things first, I just wanted to say that this is my own opinion. It may just be me, but a lot of mainstream trans or enby rep turns out to be more harmful than helpful.

This post is moreover going to be two problems I have, and why. Mainly, they’re going to be from my own experiences, or those my friends have.

Problem #1: Mainstream Rep is Rarely Own Voices

I have a distinct preference to Own Voices stories, and only have a few favorites that aren’t OV. What I’ve found is that OV stories are not only more in-depth, but also more honest and from the heart. Others just don’t have that experience. I’m not saying that non-OV writers aren’t able to write good rep, but what I am saying is that the rep can’t be as thorough and accurate as OV. No amount of research can provide the same experience as OV.

This leads into the fact that OV people are hugely discriminated against in publishing. White people are more likely to get their work bought than people of color. Cis people are more likely to get their stuff bought than trans or enby people. So OV people are more likely to self-pub or go to an indie.

Problem #2: Some Authors of Mainstream Rep Just Don’t Care :/

Either they don’t care, or they don’t put enough thought in, employ sensitivity readers, or see diversity as ticket to becoming a big name author. And I am seriously. getting. tired. of this shit. I mean, of course there are those who do care, and only want to do those who are represented good. But there are always going to be some people who think that people are forcing them to write representation, and then just throw it in for the sake of their book getting attention because omg this book has an ace character.

So, mainstream authors sometimes don’t care about the rep, but more over the attention it could get them. But, you’d think by now that people would realize that, while diversity does bring people to the book, if it’s harmful than, well, people will avoid it.

Now, both of these definitely have exceptions. I know that. This post is just a general list of things that I’ve noticed.

As I mentioned in problem 1, some of the best rep I found have been in indie or self pubbed novels. That’s not a definitive mention either. I’ve also run into some truly horrendous rep in indie novels, so choosing something published through the big five does not condemn it to being good/bad, and vice versa with indie/self-pubbed.

I would also like to mention that the fact that I can point out reasons why something is wrong, proves that something should be changed. Employ more sensitivity readers. Buy books from own voices people, and make sure non-own voices researches thoroughly.

What do you think? Do you think mainstream rep should be doing better?