We love a good fairytale where we know the plotline, the structure, and the language. Not to mention the gentle tone, the short story, and the happily ever after. But so many of our communities are lost from such plotlines, they are often trashed from the final edit of many platforms. They may tick the box conformations of ‘diversity forms’ so that the world feels they are empowering such voices and even sometimes listening to the sound of others’ rally cries. But too often such feel-good short bursts of ‘emotion’ that we may hear, very little is actually changing of who is in this well-paid audience of leaders.
We may have broken through the glass ceiling of allowing such ‘people’ to get in through the polished door but often, that human being remains unheard at the same level as those making decisions. We may ‘survey’ them to get ‘their views’ but if we want to actually showcase their values in the work we publish then we need those people in higher-paying roles and executive positions.
To do that we better start getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. Not complacent, we need to actively challenge ourselves and those around us to truly hear one another because unless you’re a fictional fairy, no one’s life story has a straightforward plotline. But if we are in a privileged position of power then it is our responsibility to empower and elevate such voices, just look at the huge battle that survivors of Domestic Violence have to face in their own homes and even when reporting such crimes.
Police forces encourage people to report hate crimes or domestic abuse and yet take often listen but take very little action with most cases of DV being dropped without charges within 6 months because that budget only stretched to the rebranding of the campaign but did it actually help the communities it claimed to want to reach?
What’s the point of an agenda with no actions? A perfectly constructed politically correct marketing message without a mission to create change holds very little value and in many ways can do more harm than good.
At least the media stories have finally triggered a change, not concrete yet, but at least two years is expected rather than the pitiful 6 months because in many ways, if you encourage victims to ‘come forward’ and do nothing as a result, then you have actually created more harm than good. You may feel you have listened but what’s the point without action?
For me the power of stories is not about systematic selection it is shining a light on issues that we need to do more than talk about but use our power to take action. So that the successful protagonist of the novel is those who we need to serve the most. The media can be used as a powerful tool for transformation, any reporter I know is there to reflect the reality and sees it as an honour, like I do, to share many stories, but sadly some of those at the top of the industry still allude to systematic stereotypes and a draconian underbelly of judgment.
You only have to watch the rollercoaster ride of Maid on Netflix to see this complex roller coaster of domestic violence that ripples through generations and isn’t always physical or what we have previously seen on ‘posters’ but a mesh of psychological abuse.
A lot of society still doesn’t want to face the complex reality that such unique stories rarely come with one happy ending as there are so many anomalies.
Stories can be transformational but too often we’d rather escape the reality of those communities that challenge our reality. No life is simple but some of our lives are much more privileged than others. Let’s write our own fairy tales as it can be cathartic to reflect but then take the lead to re-write the plotline for future scripts.
Read more from Sophie’s Stories over at https://mamamei.co.uk and https://yorkshirefamilies.co.uk