Hollywood’s most challenging role

When I read Eddie Redmayne is going to play Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl, I rolled my eyes so far I saw my skull. I cringed when articles said it’ll be his most “challenging” role.

My issue is Hollywood’s insistence in casting (white) cisgender men and women to portray transgender characters. Transgender stories are being told at the expense of trans actors’ careers. Many fans and directors defend these casting decisions, arguing it’s based on talent. However, these decisions render the transgender community invisible and artificial.

Many transgender roles are grossly stereotyped, tragic, misogynistic, queer-phobic or played for laughs. This type of representation is harmful with real-life consequences. Many trans youth commit suicide because their families and peers bully them. Many trans people are murdered and forgotten. The transgender community struggles with prejudice, discrimination and violence on a daily basis.

Positive representation matters. It can encourage understanding and positive attitudes towards the trans community. Portraying sympathetic and complex transgender characters on screen validates these identities. It’s a HUGE deal. It allows trans actors like Laverne Cox and Ian Harvie to become successful role models.

But casting cis actors in sympathetic trans roles perpetuates the erasure of the trans community. Furthermore, cis actors are rewarded for portraying these “challenging” roles and being “allies”. But trans actors are rejected and left without a job.

Cis actors portraying trans characters take away jobs for trans actors. Hollywood denies trans people’s right to tell their own stories. The media distorts the representation trans people desire. It’s not malicious, but it’s damaging and deadly.

There’s no shortage of transgender actors and actresses but, as Laverne Cox points out, the sad fact is it’s all about business.

This blogger articulates it best.

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Misandry in Hollywood

Fox News has recently brought up an important issue in Hollywood: misandry. It’s easy to see how Disney movies like Frozen emasculate men: it’s a female-led movie with an engaging narrative, and female characters with fully developed relationships outside of romance. The nerve! For Fox News’ Steve Doocy and Penny Nance the real stickler is how men are depicted as unsympathetic villains and comic relief in these kinds of movies. It’s a real problem in Hollywood, pigeon-holing characters because of their gender.

The “Frozen” Effect is problematic for representations of realistic male characters. These kinds of movies empower female protagonists at the expense of men’s masculinity. Boys should see Strong Male Characters depicted in every movie, including genres specifically targeted to girls. As Penny says, “we want to raise heroes”. It can be emotionally damaging for boys to see men represented as supporting characters. It affects their self-esteem and how they interact with girls. Men are only depicted as fathers, brothers, sons and love interests. These roles turn them into stereotypes and tropes that are recycled again and again. For example, the House Husband trope presents a man who is better at doing chores and running a household than his wife. These kinds of tropes are harmful for boys (and girls) to see because it represents men as “less manly” and unable to “provide” for his family because he’s a stay-at-home dad. We can’t let boys think their masculinity is impotent in female-led movies.

Hollywood has turned into a girl’s club. This is misandry.







Comic creditRobot Hugs