Since it was announced that Rooney Mara had been cast as Tiger Lily in Warner Bros’ live action re-imagining of Peter Pan, there have been so many articles explaining exactly why this is offensive, that I can’t link to them all. But it’s one thing to imagine an abstract idea of something, and another to see it in front of you, because if this promo image is anything to go by, then Joe Wright’s depiction of Tiger Lily is even worse than we imagined, which is really upsetting since the bar was already pretty low.
Well, at least they’re not doing what they did with Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger. They did give her red highlights in her makeup, which is, as The Gloss points out, reminiscent of red face. Even without reading the red eyeshadow as red face, they have basically erased Tiger Lily’s racial background and with so few characters that are EXPLICITLY Native American, whitewashing the ones that are available is unforgivable and I’m not the only person that thinks so.
Princess Tiger Lilly is NATIVE AMERICAN what is this. She’s not Caucasian. What are you doing. – @TheEvalTwin
I am increasingly unforgiving of whitewashed casting. THERE IS NO REASON FOR THIS OTHER THAN PRIVILEGE. – @charlottenicdao
THE NEW PAN MOVIE LOOKS SO GOOD THE ONE BAD THING IS THE WHITE GIRL AS TIGER LILY – @wolffchele
I am 100% not okay with them whitewashing tiger lily in the new Pan movie okay I am so so angry this is NOT OKAY – @hoImeswatson
god too mad abt tiger lily in the new peter pan movie being white to focus on work lmao – @cousineggplant
i was pumped for a second about the trailer for Pan and then remembered that’s the one with rooney mara as tiger lily – @witchqueenloki
Oh and now the Pan trailer is out with a white woman cast as Tiger Lily. Cmon America. (I love you Rooney Mara but no) – @IdleTeeth
Pan looks like a cool movie but the tiger lily casting ruins everything for me – @Ismahan_Stark
wow what a surprise that they cast tiger lily as a white person in the new peter pan movie – @timesnewrowan
I’m sorry but Rooney Mara the caucasian woman playing Tiger Lily in Pan is not only insensitive but still makes ZERO SENSE – @Diana_rAllen
Is Joe Wright’s Peter Pan movie the multi-racial one that cast Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily? I Just need to know which movies I should avoid. – @brittseegers
Peter Pan isn’t exactly sensitive in its portrayal of Native American culture, but considering the fact that according to The Wrap, director Joe Wright was “planning to create a world that very international and multi-racial, effectively challenging audiences’ preconceived notions of Neverland and reimagining the environment.” This could have been the perfect time to make Tiger Lily into more than just a racist stereotype, but instead it’s just another case of Hollywood whitewashing.
Author: Undie Girl
Undie Girl (aka Von) has a BA (Hons) Major in Cultural Studies. The title of her honours thesis was “It’s just gay and porn”: Power, Identity and the Fangirl’s Gaze. She’s currently pursuing a Masters of Media Practice at University of Sydney. Von’s a former contributor The Backlot’s column The Shipping News and a current co-host of The Geekiary’s monthly webcast FEELINGS… with The Geekiary.
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