I’ll give props to Stewart for finding a diplomatic approach to the idea that fans would like to see her a female Joker, since while she hasn’t said no, it does sound as though she wants to do something that stands out as being more original than this idea might allow. The idea of gender-swapping a well-known character simply because it’s never been done is one that a lot of people are ready to get behind, but it’s also one that a lot of other people are standing against since the whole ‘just because’ notion is a risky reason to do anything in show business. In other words, there are times that such a thing will work and times when it’s best to leave what’s already been established alone since it works just as well as it needs to. Gender-swapping has even worked on occasion when it comes to certain roles, but the belief that it’s the solution to making better movies and giving women a better chance to be represented is amusing to be fair when looking back at the past, there are a lot of iconic roles that have been taken by women.
The argument, in this case, is that the Joker is such an iconic character that swapping him out in terms of gender or even color would be kind of awkward since the character has been so well-established that doing so would cause a rather big upheaval among the fanbase that would likely split it right down the middle. Personally, I’m all for seeing what someone can do in a role, regardless of race or gender, but there are times when it feels like it might be a giant and very uncalculated risk that is bound to be taken without any possibility of reward. While it’s not likely that we’ll see Stewart take on this role, to begin with, the discussion has already been sparked and like a wildfire moving through a field of dry grass, it’s going to need to burn itself out or find some other way to continue.
One of the main issues with gender-swapping is the fact that it definitely needs a reason in order to feel valid, and while there are many ways to tell a story, there are many characters that people don’t feel the need to be switched to tell a convincing and more inclusive story. James Bond is another franchise that has been mentioned when it comes to the possibility of gender-swapping, and the most recent Bond, Daniel Craig, has opened up and said that there’s no need to create a female James Bond, indicating that there is every opportunity to create another equally impressive role starring a woman. That’s actually quite true since women have been far more prominent in the movies over the years than many people appear willing to admit, especially given that actresses have been an important part of cinema for decades. The sudden revelation that they’re not as valued or represented makes one wonder how far back in history people actually look before taking up a cause, especially since their beliefs might actually diminish the efforts that were made back in the day by those that helped women to become even more popular in the movies.
Gender-swapping a role isn’t such a horrible thing so long as it can work and so long as it makes at least some sense considering that assuming the role of a well-known character just so it can be changed and filmed from a woman’s perspective isn’t respectful or needed when it comes to cinema. Granted, it’s another point of view that might be interesting, but it’s very easy to think that if a man was assigned a role that belonged to a woman, especially in the place of an iconic character, people would lose their minds and start crying about the patriarchy and how misogynistic the industry is. The overall hypocrisy that is plentiful with gender and race-swapping when it comes to various roles is always present, but oftentimes it’s dangled in front of those that want to use it to strengthen their base, and it has the heavy one-two punch of various activist groups waiting not far behind it, hoping that someone will take the bait.
At the end of the day, it sounds as though Stewart might actually be up for a comic book role if she found one she enjoyed or was given an offer that was too good to pass up. But her stance on taking the part of the Joker is, at this moment, that it’s not original and therefore not in her best interest. At least that’s how it sounds, but the truth is that things can change at any time. Saying no to this role sounds like a good move on Stewart’s part, but it could be interesting to see her as another villain.
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