Ghost in the Shell accused of straightwashing and queerbaiting with lesbian kiss

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

The newly released Ghost in the Shell live action remake has been criticised for “straightwashing” a lesbian kiss.

While the film, throughout its production process, was accused of “whitewashing” for casting Scarlett Johansson as Major, a trailer showing a lesbian kiss is part of a new furore.

The trailer shows Johansson engaging in a lesbian kiss with a female sex worker, and in the film the pair touch each other intimately.

Ghost in the Shell accused of straightwashing and queerbaiting with lesbian kiss

After Moviepilot’s David Opie opened up a discussion on the trailer, some felt that the kiss amounted to queerbaiting as the characters never develop a same-sex relationship past that once short scene.

Viewers had speculated after the trailer that the Major character might follow lesbian side plot, given that in the original manga and anime, Major is shown as a queer female.

The scene as depicted in the trailer is part of a cyber sex work side-job.

Opie says it could have been “refreshing” for filmmakers not to focus on the sexual orientation of Major, but goes on to say that other elements make that argument problematic.

“However, [director Rupert] Sanders and his team did ultimately sexualize her character through numerous action scenes featuring Johansson in the nude, which arguably reinforces how the lack of bisexual representation here is even more of a missed opportunity,” he adds.

“Sure, Motoko’s body may just be a ‘shell’, but if the remake had taken longer to explore the complexities of her “ghost” instead, then we could have finally seen the first openly bisexual action hero on our screens.”

The film was previously accused of whitewashing, as Johnasson was cast in the role of Major Motoko Kusanagi.

Having been released, but not in Japan, it has not done so well at the box office.

Check out the trailer below: