We don’t know, you guys. We’re just not loving this as a costume.
Katie Holmes on set filming her directorial debut “All We Had” in Queens, NYC.
Context: She’s portraying a single mom and this scene is being shot in a Walmart
We have this thing about how poor white people are portrayed in a lot of mainstream movies and television.* There’s this tendency to go straight to a trailer park or “People of Walmart” aesthetic, which tends to take poor people as a whole and cast them entirely as something “other” and separate from mainstream society. This may seem like a strange connection to make, but one of the things that really made us sit up and take notice the first time we saw the video for Lorde’s “Royals” was not her vocals or her obvious charisma, but the way in which economically disadvantaged white people were portrayed. Not with tacky bric-a-brac and eye-searingly ugly clothing, but by showing them in mostly empty pre-fab tract housing, with furnishings that look like they came from a discount box store instead of a hipster thrift store. Hollywood tends to go twee when they need to portray this aesthetic but the more likely look is just straight-up cheaply made shit (plastic furniture and threadbare curtains) rather than perfectly curated kitsch.
Does this mean you don’t see people at Walmart dressed like this? Of course not. But there’s a much broader range of what the poor in America actually look like than this, which is, for the most part, the Hollywood default portrayal. There are countless economically disadvantaged single moms out there and we’d wager only a small fraction of them look like this.
*And we mention white people specifically not because we think there’s some special problem with white portrayals, but because the portrayal of the non-white poor in this country has an entirely different set of pitfalls and cliches, mostly having to do with gangs and rap culture, rather than trailer park knick-knacks and meth.
[Photo Credit: LGjr-RG/PacificCoastNews, JP/PacificCoastNew]
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