Processes of “othering” associated with a certain group of people are often used as tools in typecasting.
Many of the films that we see today that claim to be representative of marginalized people’s stories or minority narratives tend to still center whiteness as the norm. An example of how this manifests itself is through the phenomenon of ”typecasting”. Typecasting is the process by which a certain role becomes recurring for a specific actor. Often the role as well as the actor is associated with certain stereotypical characteristics based on, for example, a certain ethnicity, gender identity and/or sexuality. Unfortunately, racialised lgbtqia+ actors are exposed to typecasting because of their gender identity and/or skin color and ethnicity. Typecasting is an effect of “Othering”. The phenomena of othering suggests that certain groups are portrayed as deviating from a certain specific norm. Othering processes such as exotification, invisibility and/or the romanticization of a behaviour, experience or attribute that society deems as largely affiliating with a certain group of people, are used as tools in typecasting. Typecasting often limits racialised and lgbtqia+ actors in the kinds of jobs they are able to obtain. And it may also simultaneously be used to uphold various detrimental stereotypes and misrepresentations. It is up to those in power, such as casting directors, executive producers and screenwriters, to widen the scope of normativity on-screen. Here are a couple of amendments that could be made in order to decrease the notion of othering when it comes to actors of marginalised backgrounds:
- Inclusive casting is key. There will be continuous backlash and rightfully expressed concerns in cases of typecasting or other forms of questionable casting and it is up for the film and television industries to learn from these mistakes. Racialized lgbtqia+ people are also consumers of moving images and also desire to see themselves represented on-screen. As such they ought to be considered as part of the target audiences of the films and television programs produced and not an afterthought.
- Hire consultants to help with the screenwriting and casting processes. It is ok to ask for help especially if one feels as though they have inadequate information about a specific topic or/and experience that is out of one’s scope of knowledge. A solution could then be that one employs and consults with film scholars with the appropriate experience and knowledge.