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Anorak | Gender roles: Anything becomes all about the boy

Gender roles: Anything becomes all about the boy

by | 15th, June 2017

Acting. Isn’t that about pretending to be someone you are not? One writer takes issue with indie movie Anything, staring Matt Bomer:

However, it is not Bomer’s incontestable conventional attractiveness that is setting off alarm bells. It is his off-screen gender and the consistent issue of cis performers playing people of trans experience in film.

Recent years have seen both Jared Leto and Eddie Redmanye win Oscars for their respective trans-woman roles in “The Dallas Buyers Club” and “The Danish Girl”. Chloë Sevigny, Felicity Huffman, Elle Fanning and other notable cis-gender actors have taken on parts that show trans people either during or mid transition. Almost all of these actors have collected praise from the mainstream press for doing so.

Lauding cis actors for delving into trans experiences has long been a Hollywood tradition. The frequency of those plaudits has only more regular more and more films take up the trans narrative at different angles.

Can’t we recruit actors on merit? Non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon tells the Sunday Times:

“I feel like one thing I encounter is that, particularly with cis men, when they find out I’m non-binary, they don’t know how to be in relation to someone that isn’t something that they understand,”

The paper adds:

And yet, even as more trans stories surface across all media, actual trans actors are often shut out of telling stories that are — in many senses — theirs to tell. It’s a trend that’s been a regular source of criticism and genuine concern.

When Miley Cyrus talked about being gender fluid in 2015, some dismissed it as yet another Hollywood wild-child phase. But Cyrus is hardly alone in identifying this way, joining the likes of teen activist Amandla Stenberg, the Transparent director Jill Soloway, and the model/actor Ruby Rose, who also stars in Orange Is the New Black. The number of gender nonconforming people in the UK is growing and almost half (44%) of a poll by the Fawcett Society last year said they regard gender as more fluid than simply man or woman. Taking their cues from the real-world social discourse, Facebook and Tinder now offer dozens of gender identities.

For those still confused, this is how Dillon put it on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in March: “Sex is between our legs, gender identity is between our ears.”

So what are you? And what are you dating?



Posted: 15th, June 2017 | In: Film Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink