Outrage Watch: Marvel has a Tilda Swinton problem
Welcome to Outrage Watch, HitFix's (almost) daily rundown of entertainment-related kerfuffles. Not anxious enough already? Get your fix of righteous indignation below, and stay posted for outrage updates throughout the week.
The good news: Tilda Swinton is reportedly in talks to play a gender-bent Ancient One in Marvel's "Doctor Strange." The bad news: Tilda Swinton is reportedly in talks to play a whitewashed Ancient One in Marvel's "Doctor Strange." How are we supposed to feel about this?
Pretty angry, according to a contingent of tweeters who are miffed that a character depicted in the comics as an elderly Tibetan man (birth name: Yao) has been reimagined for the upcoming MCU entry as a willowy white goddess. Here's a sampling of the outrage:
'Tis strange to assume that changing the character's gender will be controversial but the whitewashing gets a pass. http://t.co/qNZ6cm1d3F— Jason Morehead (@jasonopus) May 28, 2015
"marvel's casting of tilda swinton is a small step forward" except no it's not because they're whitewashing? not cool?— jodie (@memecoIIins) May 27, 2015
Tilda Swinton is great, but Marvel whitewashing a clearly Asian role isn't. And it doesn't bode well for Iron Fist.— Josh M (@Joshy206) May 27, 2015
Tilda Swinton as Ancient One rumors: I mean gender swapping is cool, but it doesn't cancel out obvious white-washing pic.twitter.com/Xla7vquz4T— joey braccino (@joeybraccino) May 27, 2015
As a whole totally neutral to Tilda Swinton as Ancient One. Its two steps forward with the gender swap but two steps back w/ white washing.— Faerie Empress (@cosmosblue772) May 27, 2015
On one hand: TILDA SWINTON GENDER BENDING IN A MARVEL MOVIE. On the other hand: more Hollywood whitewashing... http://t.co/dLpx1FwkcN— Alex Brown (@QueenOfRats) May 27, 2015
If they want to cast a woman as the ancient one then fine. Just make sure she's asian. I like Tilda Swinton but lets stop the white-washing.— Bee (@IJustBeeMe) May 27, 2015
Should have just cast Tilda Swinton as Doctor Strange. Problem Solved! I am sick and tired of the whitewashing of characters @WeAreWakanda— The Valerie Complex (@ValerieComplex) May 27, 2015
@WeAreWakanda I love Tilda Swinton but not at the cost of whitewashing— Chelsea St. Juniors (@IfIWereMagneto) May 27, 2015
I mean, yay female Ancient One in Doctor Strange but booo whitewashing http://t.co/towHUmdcwy— Ruby (@Ruby_Churchill_) May 27, 2015
apparently tilda swinton is supposed to play a character who is AN OLD CHINESE MAN??? WHY DOES MARVEL KEEP WHITEWASHING THESE CHARACTERS??— t i j o n n a; (@VlSlONWANDAS) May 27, 2015
Went from elation to confusion to "AARGH NOT AGAIN" over Tilda Swinton's reported #DoctorStrange casting. Genderbend: Yes! Whitewashing: No!— Meagan Damore (@metathor) May 27, 2015
Genderswap, cool. Whitewashing? Less cool. Tilda Swinton= very not Tibetan https://t.co/0kL61Z2g3k— Dubious (@DubiousCA) May 27, 2015
Tilda Swinton as Dr. Strange's Ancient One is cool, but it's still whitewashing.— Christian Hoffer (@CatsComicsCbus) May 27, 2015
And it's not just Twitter. Some members of the online media also aren't particularly pleased.
"...don't expect to get something as awesome as Tilda Swinton in a Marvel movie without her role also turning out to be super racist," writes Daily Dot contributor Aja Romano, who continues later: "While it's awesome that Marvel is proving willing to genderbend characters in order to give fans the female representation they have been demanding, it completely defeats the purpose if those roles come to white women at the expense of other actors who can and should play roles that were written as other races to begin with."
While Romano does highlight the argument that casting a white woman in the role at least avoids the rather offensive nature of the comic-book character to begin with -- a.k.a. Asian stereotype mentors white hero -- she concludes that "the role could easily have been written in ways that rethought the characterization and made the dynamic between Yao and Strange less problematic."
Over at The Outhousers, meanwhile ("Your source for comics news, reviews, opinions and muckraking!"), writer "Jude Terror" takes a snarkier approach, calling the Swinton casting a "diversity 'wash'" before concocting a faux-statement by Marvel Studios head "Kevin Feige" that reads in part:
"'We're excited to have made neither forward progress nor backward regression in this casting,'...Often, the superhero film genre feels like it's making one step forward and two steps back when it comes to responsibly handling issues of inclusion in a universe of characters that was mostly created decades ago with outdated and occasionally offensive ideas of diversity.'"
I cannot stress enough that this is not an actual Kevin Feige quote. Satire! We support it here.
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]