Jessica Chastain appears on the cover of the Los Angeles Times‘ Envelope magazine alongside five other actresses, and took to Twitter to criticize the fact that every woman on the cover is white.
The cover — in which Chastain poses with Margot Robbie, Diane Kruger, Saoirse Ronan Annette Bening and Kate Winslet — features the headline, “A shift in focus: Actresses call for a change in the way many stories are told.”
Chastain was taken to task by on Twitter by author, critic and columnist Rebecca Carroll, who recognized the “Zero Dark Thirty” star as “an outspoken voice for equality” but asked, “how do you pose for a photo like this and not feel absolutely mortified by the blatant exclusion? How is it possible to not understand the msg this photo sends?”
Carroll continued in a second tweet, in which she describes the all-white cover as “literally the antithesis of ‘a shift in focus’ — this is literally The Same Focus on White Women in Hollywood.”
A valid question, and one that Chastain herself agreed with, responding with a tweet admitting it’s “a sad look that there’s no [women of colour] in this pic of us promoting our female lead [sic] films. The industry needs to become more inclusive in its storytelling. What were your favourite WOC lead films this year? I LOVED @salmahayek in #BeatriceAtDinner.”
She added: “It’s TERRIBLE that I can’t think of at least 5 female lead films with woc this year,” and followed that up with another tweet, asking, “In 12 months there’s not even 5?”
The Twitter exchange led to something that’s becoming increasingly rare in the Twitterverse: a reasonable conversation that manages to transcend simply assigning blame by getting at the heart of the issue: the lack of women of colour cast in starring roles in Hollywood films, with one Twitter user summing it up perfectly by writing, “Instead of blaming each other let’s look forward to more roles for WOC. ”