This article was originally published on Kajal Magazine and republished here with the author‘s permission. A few years ago, I truly believed a brown man would save me from my loneliness. It’s embarrassing to admit now, but at the time, my everyday life was shaped by this hope: if I could just find one to…

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You’ve seen the stereotype before: Asian woman falls in love with white hero and then cries when he inevitably leaves her. It’s one of the most tired tropes around Asian women in our media and, yes, even extends to Harry Potter. Check out this kickass poem by Rachel Rostad to JK Rowling on how this misrepresentation is damaging and dehumanizing and why we need to do better.

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Think back on the stories you’ve heard about Africa. How similar are they? Chances are, most of them involve the same basic elements: starvation, lack of modern technology, war. And while these elements may be true for some people in some parts of the continent of Africa, we’re doing a disservice to the world in assuming that this is the only African story.

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The media we consume can impact the way we see our own bodies, our perspectives on races, cultures, sexualities, and genders. It’s disheartening to see the media prioritizing the stories of only a set group of people. It is absolutely essential that we continually call for improvement. So how can we to do that? Here are three things we must demand from media.

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If you’re anything like me, you spend countless hours binge-watching your favorite TV shows, dancing to the songs that move you, and generally consuming a lot of media. That means that it is inevitable that some of the things you encounter and love are problematic. So what are we do to do when we encounter something that we love that is also deeply problematic?

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Person with blue painted fingernails typing on a laptop

Although it’s often ridiculed and written off, fan fiction makes some serious progress when it comes to empowerment of marginalized people. It allows us to call out problematic media elements of the texts we love and subvert those narratives – leaving space to reclaim the stories. Read this piece to learn about how the world of fan fiction can be a feminist pursuit.

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