When I was in the seventh grade, I was required to take a class called Career Investigations. I can still remember the first day of class with Mr. Tripp Presley and the question he asked each student to answer aloud, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
By the time he came around to asking me, most of my choices had been named by other students, and, wanting to be original, and not particularly invested in my reply, I said, "I want to be the president of the United States."
My classmates laughed. I hardly blamed them. I was a girl in the seventies saying something outlandish for attention.
A fellow classmate--a boy--said what most of my peers were thinking, "Girls can't be the president."
Mr. Presley kindly contradicted him and said, "Yes they can. Girls can be anything they want to be."
He said it, but did he believe it? Did any of us?
It might be hard for young people today to imagine a girl feeling skeptical that girls could actually become good doctors, business leaders, or powerful politicians, or that women could be taken as seriously as men; however, that's how I felt.
In those days, the powerful characters in books, television, and movies were always men. Try to think of one movie made before 1980 that depicted a kick-ass heroine.
I'm grateful that it was during that decade that the women's movement, along with the civil rights movement, began to have an impact on American society. And I must say, it's not difficult for me to see why children of American minorities and other disenfranchised groups might experience the same doubt and feelings of inadequacy as I experienced as a girl.
While it may be true that art mirrors life, it can also be said that life mirrors art. What we see in books, television, video games, music, and motion pictures shapes our understanding of human experience. Why else would businesses pay top dollar for television commercials to convince us that people with family values drink Budweiser, that posh people drive Lincolns, and that all fun-loving people want to be a Pepper, too (Be a Pepper...drink Dr. Pepper)?
In Mr. Presley's class, it wasn't just the girls who doubted that they might one day be president. The boys doubted girls could do it, too. A lack of diverse representation in the arts distorts our understanding of reality and makes us all victims of a lie. Both the privileged and the disenfranchised develop perverted notions of themselves and one another when they are stereotyped in the media. So how do we break this cycle?
Art is a powerful tool, and, as artists, authors can lead the charge by incorporating diverse characters in important roles. I've tried to do this in every book I've written, and I'm especially excited to have one of my novels, Charon's Quest, included in a box set of twenty-four works of urban fantasy devoted to multicuturalism and diversity. Sigils and Spells is now available for preorder for only 99 cents and will release on January 9th, 2018. I hope you'll join me in supporting diversity.
Eva Pohler is the Amazon bestselling author of The Mystery Book Collection and three series for young adults: The Gatekeeper's Saga, The Purgatorium Series, and The Vampires of Athens. Her books have been described as "thrilling" and "addictive." A Kirkus reviewer said of The Gatekeeper's Sons that it was "sure to thrill Hunger Games fans."
A reader herself, Eva writes in multiple genres, but all of her stories blur the line between reality and fantasy, truth and delusion, and draw from Eva's personal philosophy that a reader must be lured and abducted into complete captivity in order to enjoy the reading experience.
Cross through the looking glass into Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and Dystopian realms where you’ll meet valiant heroes, kick-ass heroines, and dangerous creatures waiting to unveil the hidden corners of the universe.
SIGILS & SPELLS includes more than twenty exclusive novels that roam the sands of Egypt, slip into the shadows of 1940s Los Angeles, voyage to the mystical land of Mabi, and dare to traverse the stars.
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Kris Austen Radcliffe
USA Today bestselling authors Heather Marie Adkins and Alex Owens
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Award-Winning author Carmen Fox
USA Today bestselling author Katalina Leon
USA Today bestselling author Cate Farren
Award-Winning author V.A. Dold
Award-Winning author Ali Cross
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