By: Jenna Kijauskas
When surfing various social media platforms, there tends to be a trend in the type of look that rises to the top. You all know what I am talking about- thin, flawless, and primarily white. However, while this is the flooding look that we get engulfed with in our feeds, most people do not fit into that “picture perfect mold”. From one screen to an entire stage, people are craving change in the so called role models that they look up to in terms of body image and diversity.
At the end of November, Pittsburgh’s Public Theater took matters into their own hands and off social media with their adaptation of the movie Mean Girls, called School Girls. The traditional movie features four white teens who deal with multitudes of drama and deception and of course were also pictured as the “hottest girls in school”. School Girls combats these stereotypes of race and body image in a school setting where many of us face our insecurities to the fullest and are the most insecure about who we are. The play is based off of Aburi Girls Boarding School and takes those factors of self-doubt and preaches acceptance. The cast is all female and follows Nana as she struggles with her weight and eating, as well as racism in a clique full of girls. The play was shown until December 8th, but it’s impact in society spans much farther.
Success for representation continues out of Pittsburgh and into New York City where the New York City Ballet made history in casting the first black “Marie” in the play The Nutcracker. 11-year-old Charlotte Nebres is the first ever black representation of Marie since the first showing in 1954. The young ballerina gives hope to other young kids that they too can erase stigmas and represent their own cultures in any avenue that they so please. For young children or for anyone who feels they cannot fulfill their dreams based on appearance, this is one huge step for inclusion and acceptance of all. The play will continue until January 8th and will also proceed being an example for other platforms of media and theater.
From the two states and then on, diversity and inclusion must be implemented in every avenue whether that be on social media, in the theater, and then on. We must fight for body image acceptance and diversity to keep making wondrous feats such as these shining examples.
If you have any questions about what diversity, body image, or inclusion is- click this link and then click the three dots in the bottom right to start asking away!