As of 2020, it’s estimated that the average person worldwide spends 463 minutes (or 7.5 hours) per day consuming media. As a Latinx millennial, I read that number and couldn’t fathom how anyone could spend that much time consuming media – but after tracking my own consumption for the week, I found that I was averaging around 10 hours a day. With that accounting for nearly half the day, I had to ask myself the following questions: What am I interacting with the most, and what am I getting out of this?
Every week, there are two shows I absolutely can’t miss: Ted Lasso and Bachelor In Paradise.
Ted Lasso follows an American football coach who gets hired to coach a Premier League football (what we refer to as “soccer” here in the U.S.) team in London, even though he has never coached a soccer team before and knows virtually nothing about the sport.
As someone who couldn’t care less about sports, it surprises me how much I genuinely love this show – specifically the Mexican football player, Dani Rojas. Maybe this goes back to my childhood obsession with finding the only person of color in a show and rooting for them (simply because it was rare to see someone who looked like me on screen), but Dani is my everything. He’s funny, upbeat and exudes the kind of warmth my Mexican family does whenever we’re together.
It may not mean much to some, but having that small bit of representation in an otherwise mainly white cast means a lot to me. There’s a great scene where he shows up to a Christmas party with traditional Mexican ponche (punch) and explains how his dad puts tequila in it, which takes me back to my own family traditions where we do the same.
While Mexican characters in American television are known to be highly stereotyped, Dani isn’t, and I appreciate the writers taking the time to research Mexican culture.
A guilty pleasure of mine is the Bachelor franchise – specifically Bachelor In Paradise, which lets me live vicariously through these young, hot twenty-somethings who get to prance around an island in hopes of finding love.
It’s dramatic and over-the-top, but once you get started, you can’t stop watching. I have a confession to make, though – I genuinely do feel guilty for watching this because of the complicated history the franchise has when it comes to race. People of color are hardly ever cast as leads (until recently, when they got a lot of backlash for not having enough diversity) and contestants are constantly being called out on social media for having racist pasts. So, while I do enjoy keeping up with the show, part of me also feels like I’m condoning the franchise’s past actions.
Ah, the bane of my existence. If I’m spending an average of 10 hours per day consuming media, then according to my phone, six of those hours are spent on social media.
With my top three apps being TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram, I can safely say that I have no self-control when it comes to mindlessly scrolling past videos of cats and recipes I’ll never try, laughing at viral tweets, and falling prey to every ad I see on Instagram for skincare products.
The interesting part is that I hardly ever post on these platforms. Yet, for whatever reason, I love opening these apps when I have a spare moment or spending hours on them when I should be sleeping. It’s a bad habit, and one that I’m now committed to breaking. No one wants to be the girl who spends six hours a day on social media! Let’s bring it down to three hours.
Okay, fine, maybe four hours per day – I can’t fully give up the cat videos.
Whether it’s the news app on my phone, MSNBC, or a variety of podcasts, this is one of the first media forms I interact with daily – despite how stressed I feel afterwards.
Elizabeth The Journalist loves keeping up to date with national news; but Elizabeth The Baby can and will most likely start crying every time I watch the news. Seeing the current state of the world leaves me feeling anxious and scared – so to cope, I turn to another form of news: magazines.
I recently got a subscription to Cosmopolitan magazine thinking it would make me feel, well, cosmopolitan. And needless to say, it did not. If anything, reading Cosmo makes me feel like I’m ancient. I’m only 26, but I might as well be 50 in this magazine’s eyes. Latinx representation is hardly ever found within its pages, which is something that matters to me. I want to feel seen in the media I’m consuming – but instead, all I get are sentences featuring an acronym I don’t know every other word and articles about what to do with leftover Cheeto dust. Go figure.
Every day we’re bombarded by various forms of media – and if tracking my consumption has taught me anything about myself, it’s that I just want my stories to be reflected. I want to hear from people who look like me and people who aren’t typically shown in the mainstream media. Since my 10 hours of daily media consumption have left me feeling unsatisfied for the most part, I know I need to push myself to make my 600 minutes of media time per day more worthwhile.
Elizabeth Alvarado is a multimedia freelance journalist with a passion for exploring social issues within communities of color. Based in Washington State, she has covered the Latinx community around Seattle and has worked abroad in Mexico City reporting on women’s issues. Through her writing, she aspires to give a voice to those who feel they aren’t being heard. Twitter: @lizthejourno