In the Times’ film critic’s review of “A Wrinkle in Time,” he states: “It is the first $100 million movie directed by an African-American woman, and the diversity of the cast is both a welcome innovation and the declaration of a new norm. This is how movies should look from now on, which is to say, how they should have looked all along.” (NYT 3/9)
I assume that by this, he means that movies should accurately reflect what America actually looks like today.
Currently, whites still comprise the majority of our population; Hispanics are over 17%, Blacks are 14%, Asians are 6% and Native Americans are 2%. But if Mr. Scott is referring to how this country looks, he should consider that at least 33% of our population is obese, 8% are disabled, 3% are LGBTQ and 3% are anorexic. If we’re insisting that diversity represent an accurate picture of America, then surely the 33% obese demands greater representation in our films than the handful of actors he can name. And surely there should be many more of these people in all walks of life, just as we have insisted on portraying blacks, gays and women.
But if visibility is what’s important, we should also include the 14% of Americans who are tattooed, the 85% of men with thinning hair by the age of 50 and the 40% of women who have visible hair loss by 40. What about the 15% of Americans who still smoke? Or the 2.2% who have psoriasis - way more than are transgender, yet the latter is a topic that has been done to death on stage, in movies, on television and several times a week in the NYT.
What Mr. Scott really means is that certain chosen groups - blacks, gays and women in that order - should be hyped even more than they currently are, despite the fact that their minority numbers remain smaller in the first two categories than other minorities which garner little to no attention. Mr. Scott is not at all concerned with normalizing the representation of burn victims and people who are facially disfigured - individuals who desperately need at least half the effort that has been devoted to mainstreaming transgenders. Aside from “Wonder,” how many current films can you name dealing with this subject? Shouldn’t A.O. Scott be campaigning for all deserving minorities to be included in “how movies should have looked all along?”
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