Johansson new film outrages Transgendered Community
SCARLETT Johansson is no stranger to accusations of cultural appropriation, having played a “whitewashed” Asian character in the movie flop Ghost in the Shell.
Now she’s under fire again — this time for gender appropriation — with her decision to be cast as a transgender man in the mob movie, Rub & Tug.
When faced with criticism which went viral on social media, Johansson, 33, responded via a representative to online magazine Bustle with the statement: “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment” — referring to the fact that those actors are cisgender and have played transgender characters, and received awards and critical acclaim for their portrayals.
If Gill was indeed transgender it will be problematic for Johansson to portray a transman when she identifies as a cisgender woman. Already, Twitter users are torpedoing the film with criticism before it has even begun.
Whereas there is a long tradition of cisgender actors playing trans characters to critical acclaim, the paradigm has shifted in recent years with the transgender movement increasing awareness and visibility of gender-authentic casting.
We have to stop hiring non-trans actors to play trans characters. In my opinion, it’s equally as traumatic & offensive as black-face. It also shows how lazy, unwoke, and complicit in transphobia you are. #CASTAUTHENTICALLY! https://t.co/3WW1cOzrEE
— Steven Canals (@StevenCanals) July 3, 2018
However, there may be a bigger problem ahead for Johansson who does not bear any physical resemblance at all to Gill, leaving some to wonder how she will make the physical transformation for the role — gender aside.
Scarlett Johansson playing a trans man isn’t that big of a deal. But Dante Gill who Scarlett would be potraying was an overweight individual, who ran massage parlours owned by the Mafia which was a front for prostitution. How did Scarlett land the role? She looks nothing him ? pic.twitter.com/nWHf2x0kMi
— Ali (@Ali_Givenchy) July 4, 2018