Actress Ruby Rose, who will be playing Batwoman Kate Kane in an Arrowverse crossover event and, potentially, her own Batwoman series, received quite a bit of backlash for the role—some valid, and others just attempting to reduce the actress.
Before she left Twitter, she responded to those who were saying that she wasn’t “lesbian enough” to play the role, a criticism that, I assume, stems from Rose being non-binary. According to The Hollywood Reporter, her last tweets were:
“Where on earth did ‘Ruby is not a lesbian therefore she can’t be batwoman’ come from — has to be the funniest most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read. I came out at 12? And have for the past 5 years had to deal with ‘she’s too gay’ how do y’all flip it like that? I didn’t change. I wish we would all support each other and our journeys.
When women and when minorities join forces we are unstoppable… when we tear each other down it’s much more hurtful than from any group. But hey/ love a challenge I just wish women and the LGBT community supported each other more, My wish was we were all a little kinder and more supportive of each other…Sending everyone my love and gratitude, it’s been a rollercoaster of a year, this month especially.
I am looking forward to getting more than 4 hours of sleep and to break from Twitter to focus all my energy on my next 2 projects. If you need me, I’ll be on my Bat Phone.”
I’m gonna keep it 100%: Would Ruby Rose have been my pick to play this role? No, because she’s never been an actress I have found interesting to watch. However, this is a CW show, where the caliber of acting ranges from great (CRG/JTV), to good (Supergirl/Black Lightning), to … the rest. I have found myself repeatedly impressed by Kate McGrath on Supergirl, despite that she was not a favorite of mine on Merlin, so there’s plenty of room for Rose to grow as an actress, and let’s be real—the acting bar is relatively low on most of these shows.
The Bat is out of the bag and I am beyond thrilled and honored. I’m also an emotional wreck.. because this is a childhood dream. This is something I would have died to have seen on TV when I was a young member of the LGBT community who never felt represented on tv and felt alone and different. Thank you everyone. Thank you god.
As people reporting this news, we need to also learn separate thoughtful and legitimate criticism from the trolls and homophobes—not even for any specific actor’s sake, but we need to make space for people from marginalized communities to critique things without having people turn that criticism into “backlash.”
The idea that we can’t be critical of who gets cast and why for roles that are meant to represent us—for fear of being seeing as always complaining, never satisfied—is frustrating. Addressing displeasure about Ruby Rose getting the role for being a “safe” pick is different from saying she’s “not lesbian enough.” The former is about how, even now, queer actors are chosen by their appeal to a heterosexual audience, whereas the latter is some in-house shit that we in the LGBTQIA+ community need to work on when it comes to gatekeeping.
Concern about Kane’s Jewish identity being done well is valid, and while I am not Jewish and can’t comment on what that looks like casting-wise, considering that’s a big part of her character, I’m sure fans want the show to do it justice. On the non-white queer end, what I heard people commenting on was the erasure of all the other queer characters that have been on the Arrowverse before, especially Anissa on Black Lightning.
We need to separate people with those criticisms, from these people:
Ruby Rose to star as the new lesbian Batwoman because you cannot have any straight, white male characters in 2018. Every new, or rebooted, character has to either be gay, female, black, Latino or more than one of those. Examples Magnum P.I., One Day At A Time, Roswell and more.
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) August 7, 2018
That is, people who have no taste and also seem to not know who Batwoman is.
Despite the massive indifference I have toward Ruby Rose as an actress right now, it doesn’t erase the fact that it’s good to see lesbians getting to play themselves in media.
It’s not even because I think it’s a problem to see straight actresses play queer women, but when I look back at the queer female icons of my younger days, almost all of them are played by heterosexual women. It’s the same reason it was so powerful to see Stephanie Beatriz, a bisexual actress, bring that aspect of herself into her character, Rosa, on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Ruby Rose is a positive step in having more representation, and I can take that spoonful of sugar to help everything else go down.
Whatever anyone thinks about Rose as an actress, there is no reason to fill her DMs and mentions with hate. She has done nothing to earn that, and while that “women and minorities” comment is side-eye worthy, the reality is that with all the bigots and Nazis on the internet, queer women of all race, women of color, and child actresses being victimized by homophobic memes aren’t the ones who need to be run off of Twitter.
And if Rose wants some support on dealing with terrible trolls on the internet, Arrowverse veteran Candice Patton has five years of experience in that regard.
(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: Netflix)
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