I just finished reading an article stating that Scarlett Johansson stepped down from the role she had agreed to play, whereby she was going to portray a transgendered person. Obviously this has been a media shit storm from the onset, especially when it was announced that she would play this role and not someone who was transgendered themselves. Now, I have a few thoughts on this.
Firstly, why did she need to step down or decline the role? Why in the world does the general populous get to dictate what a producer, director, writer, etc wants or can do with their movie and their investments? If you don’t like something, don’t go see it. Pretty simple stuff. And as we all know, social media is a skewed view of what the real world wants or will support. It’s a platform that works based on the notion that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and might I just add, something I absolutely loath in real life.
Second, are transgendered people actually trying to state that unless you are transgendered yourself, then you are not qualified to understand, empathize or portray what you go through? Is this group truly preventing actors from acting? Honestly! Do you need to be a pirate to actually portray one on the big screen? No? Well then, this whole debacle is ridiculous. Now, if you are saying that this role would have been perfect to award to a qualified transgendered person for exposure, etc, then please understand that this mindset works both ways. If only a transgendered person could properly fill these shoes, then you open yourselves up to the criticism that transgendered people are only fit for transgendered roles. And if I am not mistaken, that’s not what acting is about. It’s actually about portraying someone else, and convincing the audience that your role is authentic and believable. You know, pretend and make believe, or dare I say, to act?
Third, if this media shit storm strikes the movie or project hard enough, it could lose investors and never be made at all. And then guess what, you just lost an amazing opportunity to bring a role like this into the mainstream dialogue. The exposure you risk losing, cannot possibly be worth this much fuss, can it? This seems like simple math. Would you like something, or nothing?
Fourth and finally, if you truly believe that only a transgendered person is qualified to act out this very important part, then guess what? You have failed to portray to the public exactly how you feel as an outsider in society. And not to put too fine a point on it, but you will remain a victim and an outsider. Not every member of society will be able to understand exactly what your pain is. But know that each of us have our own unique pain, and it is empathy that allows us to work together as a society to accept and love one another. And you do not need to wear every single human beings shoes to accomplish that. It is time to learn how to communicate your thoughts and feelings in a more effective way and stop playing the poor me card. We all try that as young children, and guess what? It does not fly in the adult world. So time to pick a different tactic!
And honestly, these arguments I have put forward can be substituted for a long list of social justice warrior causes that are currently in the media. Stop giving grease to the squeaky wheel, just because we don’t want to hear it squeak anymore. Instead lets try to get to the root cause of the problem and try to fix that.
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