What If, or The F Word- Faith
Katie and I have talked about this, but we almost never do written posts together, and there’s no way this is going to be heard unless it’s in writing. And when I mentioned it to my mum, she said “Why aren’t you posting about it everywhere?” and I was like “I’m not an internet vigilante anymore.” I’m not, but hell if we don’t run a blog that specifically comments on media.
So, you might be aware of the new Daniel Radcliffe film, What If, or The F Word, as it’s known in Canada. And it’s pretty romcommy, so I would normally just glance over it, but it does also have Daniel Radcliffe, so I watched the trailer. And it’s cute- Daniel Radcliffe meets Zoe Kazan and they talk about each other to their cute white friends, and go places together that are populated by cute white extras, and it’s all very cute and white. I wasn’t too bothered- I just tend to not patronise things if they don’t represent people well, but I try not to get worked up about it- but then, in the trailer, we were treated to a beautiful Toronto skyline, and suddenly I began to recognise places around town.
This is the cast list:
These are Toronto statistics as of 2006 (source):
- 47 per cent of Toronto’s population (1,162,635 people) reported themselves as being part of a visible minority, up from 42.8 per cent (1,051,125) in 2001
- The City of Toronto’s visible minority population increased by 10.6 per cent since 2001, and by 31.8 per cent since 1996
- The top five visible minority groups in Toronto were:
- South Asian at 298,372 or 12 per cent of our population
- Chinese at 283,075 or 11.4 per cent
- Black at 208,555 or 8.4 per cent
- Filipino at 102,555 or 4.1 per cent
- Latin American at 64,860 or 2.6 per cent
Are you fricking kidding me. 47 percent?? FORTY SEVEN PERCENT VISIBLE MINORITY and your goddamn film has exactly NO ONE
It’s so easy to live in Toronto and say, “But the world isn’t so bad, right?” We’re AWARE that the city we live in might lull us into a false sense of security until we believe that every where in the world cultures intermingle, that religious freedom is protected, that marriage equality or safe abortion isn’t up for debate. Toronto is one of the most, if not the most, multicultural cities in the world. Maybe that’s what makes it easier to brush off whitewashing, to ignore bad representation; because we have to keep ourselves in check, remind ourselves that “not every place is like Toronto.”
But then, you come into MY CITY, into MY HOUSE, and YOU tell ME that EVERY SINGLE person in this city is exactly your white fantasy, and you erase the existence of 50% of the people around me, and take away the HISTORY, the IMPORTANCE of an entire city?
I haven’t seen the film- but this blog says “The F Word is not only shot in Toronto, but proudly set here…The movie’s eagerness to show off our city every chance it gets is practically infectious.” I’m literally giving up on life right now. You’re telling me they even went to Chinatown and there are no PoC- oh wait? It was a cute date? To an exotic locale? Did they meet the shopowners with hilariously stilted English who tried to sell them- quote unquote- “weird animal parts”? How quaint and unusual !??! How quirky and romantic???!!?
How do you expect to produce a film that’s proud of Toronto while simultaneously taking away the aspect of Toronto that means the most?
Toronto is not perfect, Canada is not perfect- I’m sick to death of people romanticising the BS that is “Canadian”, shut up, we’re really problematic- but that doesn’t mean you haven’t taken away what is metaphorically, and literally, a safe haven and refuge for so many PoC. Because it was cute? Because it didn’t match with your aesthetic? Toronto refuses in so many ways to be part of the melting pot mindset of the US- it’s a city that celebrates the many cultures that make it. Don’t take that away. Don’t hide it.