A mum is challenging Hollywood whitewashing with a provocative new art project

Hollywood has a long history of casting white actors in roles that should be played by Asian actors, leaving them with fewer and fewer parts.

Unfortunately, this “whitewashing” is still prevalent today. For instance, blockbuster hit “The Martian” was slammed for casting white actors in roles played by Asian characters in Andy Weir’s novel. In 2015, Emma Stone was cast to play a woman who is one quarter Chinese and one quarter Hawaiian in “Aloha.” This year, the controversy was fuelled when photos of Scarlett Johansson playing a Japanese character in “Ghost in the Shell” emerged.

Michelle Villemaire, best known for her DIY blog called Home Made Mimi, became frustrated with the issue at hand, and found a way to draw attention to it with a new project called “Correcting Yellowface.”

“Growing up, I didn’t see many faces like mine on television and film. And because I wanted to be an actor, it was really hard to believe that I could ever be one. Only women who had a certain skin colour and eye shape were really allowed on screen, right? To this day, white people are cast as Asians, deepening the message that Asians just aren’t wanted,” she wrote.

So she decided to correct the past, and began inserting images of herself into some of Hollywood’s most egregious cases of whitewashing.

In 1944’s “Dragon Seed” Katherine Hepburn played a Chinese woman standing up to the Japanese in World War II.

The blue-eyed Myrna Loy played a Chinese woman in 1932’s “The Mask of Fu Manchu.”

FuManchuMEandMyrnaMichelle Villemaire/Home Made Mimi‘The Mask of Fu Manchu.’

Emma Stone played Allison Ng, who is of Chinese and Hawaiian descent, in Cameron Crowe’s “Aloha.”

And finally, this is Villemaire as Scarlett Johansson, who plays a Japanese character in the upcoming live action remake of “Ghost in the Shell,” which will be out in 2017.

GhostShellMEScarletMichelle Villemaire/Home Made Mimi‘Ghost in the Shell.’

Villemaire’s project is similar to the recent #StarringJohnCho, in which an artist inserted actor John Cho into movie posters to show the lack of Asian-American roles in Hollywood.
With recent outrage over the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio is being considered to play a Muslim poet, projects like this are more relevant than ever.

Check out more about “Correcting Yellowface” over on Villemaire’s website.

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