Whitewashing Yellow Futures in Ex Machina, Cloud Atlas, and Advantageous: Gender, Labor, and Technology in Sci-fi Film
Abstract

This article examines racial transformation in three recent science films within the context of the entertainment industry practice of whitewashing Asian characters. It argues that the shift from yellowface to whitewashing in mainstream cinema manages anxieties about highly gendered transpacific labor migration under globalization. Cloud Atlas and Ex Machina portray a social logic that treats racialized bodies as prosthetic selves—disposable laboring avatars that inhibit white male subjectivity and must be abandoned for white females to transcend social barriers. Advantageous returns to these same themes, but, by centering the subjectivity of its Asian female lead, demonstrates the true costs of fantasies of a whitewashed future.


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