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the Alien whiteness of Scarlett Johansson
chapterposted on 2020-01-01, 00:00 authored by Sean RedmondSean Redmond
What is particularly interesting, then, in American film star Scarlett Johansson? What does she signify in the context of stardom, gender and idealised whiteness within the science fiction film text? How might her idealised whiteness speak to the trauma at the heart of this subject position? What might her alien(ating) whiteness say about the state of whiteness in contemporary culture? To answer these related questions, I would like to examine three films, taking each in turn: Her, in which she plays the A.I. Operating System, Samantha; Under the Skin, in which she plays an unnamed Alien Other who comes to question her own position in the film; and Ghost in the Shell, in which she plays The Major, a Special Ops, human-cyborg hybrid, charged with defending the bio-tech corporation she works for. These films are tightly grouped not only in terms of genre, thematic but release date, allowing this chapter to assess Johansson’s star image and idealized whiteness at a particular moment in her career, and wider cultural life.