DIVERSITY + INCLUSION
Who wore it better? A look at how minority voices are overshadowed online
14th April 2021
Producer and singer, Sophie (often presented as SOPHIE) died on 30th January of this year from a tragic accident in Greece. The singer was only 34 and unfortunately, her life was taken too soon. As a producer, SOPHIE worked with artists such as Charli XCX, Madonna and Kim Petras. Throughout most of their career, Sophie was a private person but in 2017, they announced that they identified as transgender. During an interview with Paper magazine, Sophie said that their trans identity was defined as “transness is taking control to bring your body more in line with your soul”.
As the world mourned over Sophie’s death, a mishap occurred with another two celebrities. Charli XCX, an English singer-songwriter, and a close friend of Sophie.
Many fans tweeted #HereForCharli in support of the English singer-songwriter Charli XCX who was mourning for her close friend. Yet, Charli D’Amelio, a cisgender Tiktoker, took to the platform and thanked her fans for their support, not realising the hashtag was for Charli XCX, not her. The tweet was deleted shortly after. As the news spread and some people may have found humour in the incident, it is not a laughing matter. An occurrence like this, along with many others, shows us how easy it is for the voice of minorities to be suppressed, especially online. Even though it may have been a mistake on D’Amelio’s part, there are plenty of other incidences where the voices of minorities have been diminished and it’s usually from those that don’t want them to be heard.
A prime example is the current Black Lives Matter movement, which many ignorantly believe to be a protest that has only evolved because of recent events such as the death of George Floyd when in reality racism is an ongoing issue which some members of society have had the privilege to ignore until it stares right back at them in the face. Let us provide another example, such as the event that involved the English singer, Harry Styles. Styles took part in a photoshoot for Vogue Magazine where he was wearing a dress, and as Styles is a heavily influential and popular celebrity who in some people’s eyes would never do such a thing, it appeared to be somewhat unusual. Yet it opened up a can of worms, as the media started to discuss gender dressing and masculinity. This isn’t a bad thing and actually welcomed a well-needed conversation around gender appropriation, however was Harry Styles the first to do so? Definitely not. Celebrities such as Billy Porter have done so for years, and did his actions spark up the same conversation? Perhaps, but it was far from anything that Styles created. The Styles situation can be seen as a mirror image of the #HereForCharli mistake, where minority voices, culture and history are ignored when a white celebrity takes centre stage.
“In the world of fame, you can see how easily the “majority” overtake the throne and bask in the limelight, without any intentional or even unintentional acknowledgement of the minorities, the people of colour, and the LGBTQIA+ community, who have paved the road for justice of these issues. In other words, the majority always seem to win.”
Whether it’s race, gender or religion, anything that doesn’t fit the puzzle will always be given less attention, and if there is a spark of interest it is never permanent enough for people to actually make a change. In today’s modern world, we have infinite access to many different social platforms in which our voices can be heard. But sometimes these platforms provide space for opinions, that we don’t want to hear, to flourish.
Both online and in the real world, minorities have always faced severed oppression from the majority population, taking for example sexual minorities, disabled persons, indigenous people, the list is infinite. Online platforms give people the power to say what they want and not usually something they would say in person, allowing them to create an alternative persona where they can be the “bad guy” without receiving much backlash. There are plenty of keyboard warriors but not enough keyboard knights. What we need are more voices from the minorities and less from the majority.