Representation And My Thoughts On It

representation my thoughtsAt the beginning of the year, I had set a goal for myself to read more diverse books. I didn’t want to put specifics on it for myself because as I’ve discussed before, I am very much a mood reader and I don’t like being told what to read – even by myself.

By doing that, I never felt like I had to pick up a particular book because it would tick off a box on a list of diverse aspects and I really love that. Any of the diverse books I’ve picked up this year were simply because I was genuinely interested in them – sometimes I didn’t know that books would feature characters of different sexualities or races (Shades Of Magic trilogy by VE Schwab, for example) and sometimes I knew exactly what was expecting me and I looked forward to it even more.

I feel like in the book community, certain books get really hyped up and you know exactly what you’re getting – if you’re following the community. There was recently a rather big discussion on Twitter after Hailey hadn’t mentioned in one of her videos that The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice And Virtue featured an m/m relationship and a bisexual main character.

Hailey then proceeded to post a poll to Twitter, asking her followers for their opinions on whether or not she should’ve included that information. Which sparked another big discussion that day because Hailey had asked both people of the LGBT community as well as straight people their opinion on the topic and a lot of the replies she got were about the fact that straight people shouldn’t have a say in the matter as it’s not about them.

And people of the LGBT community made some really good points about the fact that knowing a book features both an m/m relationship, as well as a bisexual main character, can be really important for someone who is actively seeking out that representation and how much it can mean to a reader to see themselves in a book.

I really took my time and read through a lot of the replies because I was curious about that myself as I wasn’t sure if I should include those aspects in my own reviews or not and I realized that I should. Someone reading my review might be looking for a book that represents them and realizing that there is a certain type of representation in a book might be the factor that pushes the reader to pick it up and they might find exactly the kind of book they’ve been looking for.

You won’t really find me talking much about representation on the blog because I don’t feel educated enough to talk about it. I don’t want to be insensitive to anyone reading our posts because I didn’t know better.

There are so many great people out there who are so much more educated and qualified to talk about the matter, that I would rather let them do it. I feel like my Twitter is a good place to follow me if you want to get more of an idea of how I feel about topics because I often retweet threads on different matters by people who are either affected by what is talked about or more educated on the topic.

But I was wondering: How do you guys approach the topic of representation on your blogs? Do you talk about it often and in great detail or do you prefer not to talk about it beyond mentioning it when it’s featured in a book you are talking about? I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter!


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7 thoughts on “Representation And My Thoughts On It

  1. AGH THIS IS SUCH A HARD TOPIC. Should straight people care about whether or not there’s LGBT+ rep in books since it doesn’t really “include” them??? I think: Yes, they should. Because straight people should read about others who are different and “educate”, or enlighten, themselves on this diversity. I feel like I don’t agree that straight people shouldn’t have a say in the matter because it’s not about them — but that comes from my belief that EVERYONE deserves to have a voice and opinion.

    And about including representation in your reviews: I think it’s important, but not important. OF COURSE it’s important to see representation in books and see diverse and marginalized people repped, but at the same time, people shouldn’t read books JUST for the rep??? In my opinion, of course. I think diversity shouldn’t be used as a concept that decides for you whether or not you’ll read the book. OF COURSE rep is significant in books, but it shouldn’t change your opinion in any way? Yes, you can of course talk about in your review the lack of diversity, or the “abundance” (idk how else to describe it haha) of it, but that shouldn’t make you more or less want to read it (unless it’s bad rep). You should want to read the book for OTHER reasons than diversity — tho it IS good to expand your horizons.

    Wow, this comment was all over the place and I REALLY don’t know what I’m saying??? XD Great post! ❤

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    1. I feel like maybe people don’t really want a straight person’s opinion because it gets heard anyways and more likely than that of a LGBT community member and in cases of talking about their representation they deserve to be loudest of them all.

      I feel like knowing that there is diversity might be the factor that would tip someone’s scale towards wanting to read a book instead of maybe skipping it. I feel like I would probably be more likely to pick up a book if I knew that I (as a minority if I were one) was represented in any kind of way, so I do understand why someone would make diversity an important decision maker for them.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, May!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a point of my life. I cannot ignore representation, if I tried. I’m part of three groups: black, bi, and bipolar, which fight for representation on the page and screen. It’s a major part of my life.

    However, discussing representation isn’t hard as long as you’re willing to listen without thinking you know more than the given group.

    Take your time and educate yourself. The difficulty ceases.

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    1. I feel like I definitely try and listen to members of any given community and try to educate myself that way rather than thinking that I know everything – because I know I don’t.

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  3. Hi! This is definitely an interesting but tough topic to talk about. In my book reviews, I often give credit to books that include diverse characters, such as characters who are LGBT or are of racial minorities. At the same time, like you, I don’t feel comfortable enough elaborating on how these characters are represented, because I don’t know enough about how it is like to be in that minority group, unless it is one that I am part of. For example, I have no problem talking about Asian or Chinese characters (since I am Chinese myself) but I’ll have trouble commenting about representation of characters who are deaf, or gay, or have a mental illness. And I think having that discomfort is appropriate, because we don’t understand what it is like to be a person of those circumstances, and it would be inappropriate to assume that we do.
    Love this discussion post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, whenever I do mention and talk about diverse aspects of a book, I always also make sure to say that I DO NOT want to talk about how well representation is done for any particular group because I don’t have their sort of experiences.

      Thank you, I’m really happy to hear you that you enjoyed this discussion! I was a bit worried about posting it initially.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely agree 🙂
        I find that some of my best blog posts are ones that I was initially worried about posting 🙂 it’s a good sign because it means that whatever we are writing is original and a bit out of our comfort zone!

        Liked by 1 person

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