___________________________________________________________________________ Laurie. 20. College student, intersectional feminist, Disney enthusiast, makeup/cosmetic junkie, selfie supporter, and textbook Pisces currently located in New Jersey.
this is hilarious
tbh, hearing a privileged person say “we’re not all like that!” is a tip-off that i cannot trust them
if you hear about the suffering of marginalized people and your first instinct is to talk about your hurt feelings, then i know you do not care about anyone besides yourself
I’m not sure what difference this necessarily makes because regardless of how many trans women Jared Leto “beat out” for the role (and who was doing the judging? Cis producers?) there are still a lot of problems with this casting and the subsequent “Best Supporting Actor” acclaims.
If only 5 trans women auditioned for this role, then the production did not look hard enough before settling for a cis actor. If 2000 trans women auditioned for this role and the production still thought Jared was better than all of them, then that says more about the production and Jared’s cis privilege than the quality of his acting. I suspect the number was closer to 0 than 2000. There is no way to justify that Leto was the best actor for the role without also invalidating the work of every single trans actress as less talented. And, as trans advocates have pointed out, Leto’s gender as a cis man “is important to the perception of the role. He is perpetuating the ‘man in a dress’ trope.” The quality of his performance does not buffer against the reinforcement of this stereotype.
While there isn’t public information available about who else auditioned for the role of Rayon, Jared Leto has spoken about his audition experience. Leto believes that the director “may have seen Rayon more as a drag queen or someone who enjoys pushing a gender envelope or dressing up in women’s clothing.” In that case, it is more likely that cis actors auditioned fro the role of a drag queen, and Leto chose to interpret this character as a “transgendered" (not even the right language coming from someone who claims to be an ally) "beautiful creature.”
"There was a Skype meeting set up with the director [Jean-Marc Vallée]. It wasn’t really an audition, but it was kind of an audition, you know, underneath it all. But I decided to use it as a test really for myself to see what I had to offer. So I said hello via Skype, we were in Berlin, and it was wintertime. We were playing one of the biggest shows of our lives that night, I remember. I reached out and grabbed some lipstick and started to put it on, and you know, his mouth fell to the floor. I was wearing — I think this jacket — and I unbuttoned it and had on a little pink furry sweater, and I pulled it down over my shoulder and proceeded to flirt with him for the next 20 minutes and then woke up the next day with the official offer. Girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, baby." - Jared Leto on his audition for the role of Rayon.
Director Jean Marc Vallee said of this audition:
Do you know this actor Jared Leto? I just Skyped with him and he hit on me; He was feeling me up through the screen! I don’t know, it was very uncomfortable but I think we found Rayon.”
It’s sad, because it seems like from the start Rayon was an amalgam of cis men’s stereotypes of a provocative trans women. So of course the perfect Rayon is overly flirtatious and sexualized in a way that makes people uncomfortable. Of course the perfect Rayon is someone who gets the job by playing up the sexuality by hitting on a cis straight man.
The director stated in a CBC interview he never thought once of getting a trans woman and dismissed the possibility.
Here’s the quote:
Quebec filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée, who directed Dallas Buyers Club, spoke to CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi, who asked whether he ever considered casting a transgender actor.
"Never. [Are] there any transgender actors?" he said. "I’m not aiming for the real thing. I’m aiming for an experienced actor who wants to portray the thing."
The director did not even bother to take a quick second to google to see if trans actors exist and did not even consider the possibility of casting a trans person in this role. (Also, an unfortunate use of the word “thing” given the context.)
To me, this doesn’t even seem like this is something that should be controversial. This information speaks for itself. Whatever Leto’s performance was or meant, they continued marginalizing the experience of trans women so that they could continue giving voice to a cis man and then bathed him in hero worship for being willing to put on lipstick. It should be enough to be allowed to say into the universe that this is problematic and that continuing to celebrate Leto’s ability to wear “trans” as a costume is to say that you’re only brave for being visible as trans when you’re pretending. He now gets to step away from that identity and continue being a white cis man in a society that thinks he’s brave and sophisticated, while simultaneously continuing to shut out the experiences of women who cannot remove themselves from that identity.
Say what you will about his performance, but it should not be controversial to say that the production choices, the director’s mindset, and Leto’s new status in Hollywood due to this role are all problematic. That should be an ok part of the discussion.
Also, fuck anyone who calls any human a beautiful creature. What the fuck is that?
bolded for emphasis
The gender neutral term for “ladies and gentleman” is “distinguished guests”. This has been around since at least the 60s, so no one is going to question your use of it.
Please, please use this along with “ladies and gentlemen” if you aren’t entirely sure of the gender of your audience.