There are all kinds of fires in this world. Forest fires, wildfire (shoutout to my Game of Thrones fans), misfires and the dreaded backfire. One such backfire currently going in the conversation is that around a Ghost In the Shell meme generator, now being used to fight whitewashing, that is gaining momentum on Twitter under the #IAmMajor hashtag.
The appropriation of the meme generator, originally released as a marketing tool intended to help build audience hype for the film’s release, is such that users are creating memes which denounce the use of whitewashing in both the Ghost In the Shell reboot as well as in Hollywood as a whole. The furore over the casting of Scarlett Johansson as an Asian female protagonist for the live-action reboot has hung heavy over production and promotion of the film.
A great many critiques hone in on the fact that it is reprehensible to have Johansson, clearly a white woman, play an Asian woman and (even worse) have her play opposite supporting actors of color. These issues were not fixed when news broke that there had been an investigation on the production end to see if Johansson’s features could be digitally modified so Johansson could look more Asian. This idea was reportedly quickly axed.
This is not the first time a white actor has been cast in a role in which it’s quite plain that the character should be played by an Asian actor, a fact gleaned either from the setting, narrative or name of the character. Examples in 2016 alone include Tilda Swinton’s role as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange and Matt Damon’s character in The Great Wall. There is also historical precedent in the argument for ending yellowface in film, including the ghastly performances of Asian men by Marlon Brando and Mickey Rooney, two men whiter than the driven snow.
So, with that in mind, here are some of the best — and by best, I mean valid, accurate and critical — memes made to give Ghost In the Shell a dose of their own medicine.
That last tweet pretty much nails my feelings on the matter, but the entire #IAmMajor hashtag movement really hones in on the absurdity and outrageousness of the matter.
What do you think about the #IAmMajor trend? Let us know in the comments below.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.