Sunday, May 25, 2014

"We Exist" - My thoughts on responses to Laura Jane Grace's Criticism of the Arcade Fire video

Laura Jane Grace, member of the band Against Me!, and many others, including me, have criticized Arcade Fire's video for "We Exist" in which Andrew Garfield, a cis male actor, plays a transgendered woman.

Stories about this showed up in my Facebook news feed. Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler was quoted as saying, in response:
"For a gay kid in Jamaica to see the actor who played Spider-Man in that role is pretty damn powerful, in my opinion."
This really frustrated me. Why are marginalized groups routinely expected to seek acceptance or validation from privileged, accepted groups? Ugh.

I anticipated a lot of defence of this casting choice and characterization in the veins of "Garfield is an actor. He's acting!" and "Trans people should be grateful Garfield is giving them a voice!" (You know, because casting and mainstream storytelling are totally equitable to marginalized groups.)

I watched the video.

Then I read responses to Laura's Tweet. Naturally, I had correctly anticipated ignorant defence. I decided to join the conversation.

I was really glad to see that Laura Jane Grace Favorited a few of my Tweets. Click the links to these Tweets to follow or join conversations. These may continue after I post this to my blog.

Have you seen the video? What do you think?

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