Looking for More Diversity In Your Next Binge-Watch? This Website Can Help
Hollywood is notorious for telling the stories of white men at the expense of just about everyone else. Despite research that says movies that cast more women and minority actors are actually more profitable than less diverse media options, studies have found that the majority of Hollywood jobs—both in movies and on television—still go to straight, white males.
On the audience side, there is strong demand for diversity in movies and TV. Despite UCLA sociologist Darnell Hunt's contention that “Audiences prefer content that looks like America,” truly diverse storytelling is still a relatively rare find. That’s where Mediaversity comes in. As Motherboard reports, the website rates on-screen entertainment according to how it depicts racial, sexual, and gender diversity—or if it represents it at all.
The site, founded by New York City visual designer Li Lai, looks at the gender, ethnicity, and nationality of a show or film’s creators, as well as if they’re LGBTQ. It grades each piece of entertainment on an A+ to F scale, looking at the quality of the work, the gender breakdown of the characters and their screen time, how people of color are presented, and how queer culture is treated. The reviewers also award bonus points if a film or show highlights a particularly underrepresented group, like seniors or people with disabilities, in a thoughtful way. But while the ratings do cover overall quality, the site is grading with an eye toward the diversity metrics, not toward the kind of reviewing Rotten Tomatoes does.
Your high school’s grade inflation does not apply here: a piece of media doesn’t need straight As to be considered good. An A+ film is “some woke shit,” while a C is “chilling in that inoffensive groove.” A B+ means the creators “nailed it,” even if it didn’t shine in every single category. If a TV show gets an F, meanwhile, that means the reviewer questions how a studio even greenlit the project in the first place.
The reviews tend to be straightforward, giving you a sense of what you’re in for immediately. “Neo Yokio is so obviously a male work with an unapologetic male gaze,” one reviewer wrote. The show gets a D. “The writers of The Good Place prove that you can create ridiculous, exaggerated characters without ever having to reach for flat characterizations or stereotype,” wrote another reviewer of the NBC series, which received an A- rating from the site.
If you’re looking for a new show to watch, you could do worse than scan Mediaversity first, checking out which shows might actually paint a realistic portrait of the world you live in, and which will only present you with the same tired stereotypes.