Despite the strides made in recent years to increase diversity both inside and outside Hollywood, representation remains a work in progress that can sometimes require the help of allies.
For Molly Burke, a content creator, model and author, the key to being a good ally is “actively choosing to learn about things that you might not understand.”
“With social media nowadays, there’s really no excuse,” Burke said during TheWrap Power Women Summit’s “Breaking Barriers: Redefining the Status Quo” panel. “When I started 10 years ago, disability as a community did not exist online, there was no such thing as disabled content creators. But now you cannot open an app without finding #DisabilityAwareness and go down the rabbit hole of learning from so many diverse voices within our community and in fun, entertaining ways. So to me, it’s making the effort to educate yourself, learning when to pass the mic and when you can amplify the voice with your mic.”
Actress and creator Liza Koshy acknowledged that there can pressure and “a little bit of shame” admitting there’s things you may not know, but that allies don’t have to know everything.
“We have every ounce of information in the palm of our hand … if you are in pursuit of it, use that tool very intentionally, seek out the creators that are making the learning journey joyful,” Koshy said. ” And if it’s not on the internet, pick up that book, keep libraries open, whatever it is to learn about a different perspective … that in real life experience is so valuable to learn of somebody else and their cultural background and upbringing.”
Transgender activist and digital content creator Gigi Gorgeous added to never be afraid to stand up for someone else.
“I literally feel the best allies are just those who listened to what I say. When I first transitioned, it was giving she/her, my new name is Gigi, whatever and they would correct people when we were out,” Goregous said. “And I was like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s my soldier. I literally have a warrior in the streets.” Like, I’m no longer scared when I’m with this person and I think that works for so many different communities.”
Once allies take the time to become more informed and are ready to begin speaking up for those who are underrepresented, Koshy urged them to “be intentional about the words you share, because they have power.”
While there’s a natural tendency as humans to want to be liked by other people, entreprenuer Radhvi Devlukia argued that you can’t control how people view you.
“If we’re choosing to put ourselves out there online, we’re choosing to have people who follow us or buy the things that we share or are investing in us, we have to be okay with not being seen the way we want to be seen, because we are choosing to do that,” Devlukia said. “If you’re going online expecting yourself to be loved by 100% of the people, you’re going online for the wrong reasons, because everybody is hurting in some way and they are going to have a bad day and they may take it out on you. But all of that comes with the territory. So you can’t have the good without the bad.”
“If you believe in something and you have a thread through everything that you do with the right intention, you will not feel bad for sharing your view,” she added. Education is everything. So find your thread of intention and work your way through life using that thread and make sure you’re sticking with that.”
For all of TheWrap’s Power Women Summit 2023 coverage, click here.