Taking on Subtitles: Why Diverse Media is Important

Subtitles have often been seen as a controversial preference when movie-watching. Some people need them, and others despise them. When the movie you’re watching is in a completely different language, though, they’re pretty necessary. While watching movies in a foreign language may have been uncommon a decade ago, it now seems the media language barrier is crumbling, a change that is positive on so many levels.

World globe Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash Consuming media from other countries is extremely important, especially in helping expose people to global issues. If you’re American, watching only English, American-made movies vastly limits your perspective and can prevent you from examining problems on a global scale. For example, the Oscar-winning film Parasite is a South Korean film, yet its critique of capitalism and wealth inequality is something many Americans can relate to. However, if you never watched the film due to its different language, you’d never get this perspective.

Another benefit to consuming media from other countries is simply being exposed to diversity on all scales. Western media is often lacking in racial diversity, so watching films or TV shows from other countries can provide that much needed exposure. Also, you’re seeing these cultures through an authentic lens and not a western perspective of a culture, which may often have exaggerated stereotypes.

Couple watching Netflix Photo by cottonbro from Pexels Lastly, by not limiting yourself to English-only content, you have a much larger library or movies to choose from. K-dramas, Bollywood films, French Arthouse — you name it — will all be available at one click of the subtitles button! So, instead of rewatching the same series or old rom-com, try branching out with a more global perspective.

As Parasite director Bong Joon Ho said, “Once you overcome the 1-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” 

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