This Writer is Done with the Not So Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Jewface, and Cultural Appropriation, Ryan Field Books

This Writer is Done with the Not So Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Jewface, and Cultural Appropriation

When I was in college I took one of those history of film courses and I remember being shocked to learn that older films constantly used straight white actors to play Asian characters, straight white actors to play Native American characters, and they never thought twice about what they were doing. A few years later, a straight white woman named Annie Proulx wrote a gay story called Brokeback Mountain and they made a film with more straight white actors. It’s almost as though it’s a tradition for Hollywood and publishing to do this kind of cultural appropriation. 

And I know many of you will scream, “It’s acting, it’s only acting.” (The same goes for writing but I’m not getting into that right now.) But the problem with that is it’s about more than just acting. If it didn’t matter, then straight white actors would play black characters in blackface. But we all know that wouldn’t happen anymore. We know blackface is wrong. So why isn’t gayface and Jewface wrong, too? Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should be doing it. 

In this opinion piece I’m linking to now, a writer named Wendy Rosenfield makes some excellent comments about what’s wrong with the TV show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. And frankly, I have to agree with them all. She’s basically saying the same things I’ve been saying about straight actors playing gay for pay. 

Not so the Maisel ensemble. It’s not just the Jewface casting. Neither Rachel Brosnahan’s Midge; her parents the Weissmans, played by Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle; nor Luke Kirby’s Lenny Bruce are real-life Jews. But in a way, it really is the Jewface casting.

Here’s more. Rosenfield goes on to give more examples and several more insightful opinions about the entire theme of this kind of cultural appropriation. 

The biggest problem I find is that you straight white people are so steeped in your own privilege, you can’t even see that you’re doing something wrong. And you’ll fight anyone to prove you have every right to steal someone’s culture. 

Tony Shaloub, who plays Jewface as Mrs. Maisel’s Jewish father, actually had the audacity to argue about the criticism of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and he was raised in a Lebanese Maronite Christian household. His defense of playing Jewface is weak at best. 

In spite of how often they still keep doing this kind of cultural appropriation, I believe it will end eventually. And those who did it will not go down in history very well. 






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 Don’t Be Afraid of Virginia’s Woolf

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Once Upon a Castle by Ryan Field

A Different Kind of Southern Love Story

What readers are saying about “Uncertainty”

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“A wonderful story that I loved. The characters were well developed and strong. Gus: A sweet young man. Doing something for all the wrong reasons. Craig: his boyfriend, he’ll go along with anything Gus say. Henry: Gus father a no nonsense man, who’s husband died last year. I enjoyed this story.”

Uncertainty by [Field, Ryan]

What readers said about “Altered Parts”
“Best Gay Novel In Years. This story will stay with you and you will feel you know every character and the beauty of their home in the mountains of North Carolina.”
In paperback or e-book. #gayromance #Wednesday

Altered Parts

Altered Parts by [Field, Ryan]

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