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Both sides of the Scarlett Johansson playing a trans man issue

On the surface, it seems Scarlett Johansson has struck again, deciding to play a trans man in an upcoming movie. The internet, however, can’t decide how angry to be.



Not too long after we lost our marbles after Scarlett Johansson became the half-robot-half-Japanese Major Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell, the rest of the bag has found the drain upon hearing the news that she’ll be playing a trans fellow Dante “Hex” Gill in an upcoming biopic, Rub & Tug.



Now, there’s a through-line between both films, in that they’ll share a director and a lead actor. But, that’s just background, and perhaps an indication of a lesson not learned. Regardless, she was launched into the sun after her reply to the backlash was known:



We find ourselves at an interesting pivot. The names she mentioned all were castigated/honoured for playing trans roles, as well as her dipping the brush into the #MeToo side of the spectrum. Her point, I assume, is that it exists before she took the role, so what’s the problem? The obvious response is that well then is not now.

The internet seems to be split on the issue, somewhere between a massive something and a massive nothing.






She’s as right as she is wrong. Maybe the role should have gone to a legitimate transactor, and maybe we should remove the accepted casting culture before we flay her. I believe her logic is along the lines of: I wouldn’t take it if roles like this wouldn’t exist.


However, applying the context, that logic becomes more difficult to accept. Sticking entirely to the narrative, the real Tex Gill, identified as a man, not a woman in drag. So, then the question becomes, should a cis man play Dante Gill? Well, I fear that’s another internet argument, with the answer being no, but also maybe more than Scarlett playing him.

That’d be arguably wrong, but arguably closer to being right.


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