Ghostbusters: The Value of Playing the Game
By Diana Matthews
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]T[/dropcap]his summer, girls across the country are trading in their bikinis for coveralls. Ghostbusters, starring SNL goddesses Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon is a remake with a purpose. But I’ll admit - when I bought my ticket, I was expecting to hate it.
Last week, I launched into a feminist rant about how frustrating it is to see Wiig starring in a remake of a film that represents the old boys’ club of comedy. I was annoyed that the success, authenticity and honesty of Bridesmaids meant nothing to the Hollywood machine that was unwilling to give the ladies another opportunity to create their own content.
I was disappointment for McCarthy whose quirky and wonderful characters make us squeal and cringe with delight. She was an absolute superstar in last year’s summer flick Spy and seeing her in the Ghostbusters trailer felt like such a gigantic step back.
I voiced my opinions to Erin who was excited to see the remake. As my comments became more and more bitter, she said to me that this is how it is for women in Hollywood, that in order to make another another original film, these ladies have to first cover themselves in green slime and make a blockbuster.
So I bought my ticket, knowing that if I was going to voice such an opinionated view, I’d need to actually see the film I was criticizing so deeply. And I remained skeptical, until something shifted not only onscreen, but in the theatre.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]A[/dropcap]fter answering the call to capture another ghost on the loose in Manhattan, the four women stand together in the same iconic pose the four men had struck in 1984.
Clad in beige coveralls with blaster guns in hand, the theme song blares as the team stands together, united on their first mission. Without hesitation, the two girls sitting next to me cheered and clapped, overwhelmed with excitement.
And I realized - this is for us. This is our turn.
Ghostbusters 2.0 is a film that could’ve so easily been remade with an all-male cast, creating the echo-chamber effect Hollywood has become so fond of for summer movies.
But instead, here are these four dynamos, sharing the screen during the hottest months of the year, and none of them embody classic leading lady characteristics. They’re goofy oddballs who are anything but ornamental. They’re not here to be pretty, they’re here to be funny - to contribute and lead within the framework they’ve been given.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]T[/dropcap]he movie, which follows the blueprint set out by the original, is full of great nuances and charming moments. Chris Hemsworth is delightful as the hunky office assistant who’s less concerned about answering the phones than he is with the task of choosing which headshot to use for his latest modeling gig.
But it’s not without a few serious problems, many of which are being experienced personally by the cast members. The stars have been subject to relentless abuse since it was first announced that the ghostbusters would be female and Leslie Jones deleted her Twitter this week after being the subject of a racist campaign led by online trolls.
The intense discriminatory, sexist and hateful attention Ghostbusters has received shows that although representation is important, simply showing up isn’t enough. There is a cultural shift that must take place, one that meaningfully empowers women as human beings, rather than just saying so to sell tickets.
Answer the call to support the cast and crew that want to make this shift happen. Support the female economy that puts women in positions of power, rather than in distress.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]
On the way home from the theatre, my friend told me that she would play ghostbusters with her brother and sister when she was little. Her sister would always be Janine and they were forced to dream up a female character for her to play.
It thrills me to think of little girls seeing themselves on the screen and busting ghosts in playgrounds and basements with their friends and siblings. Join the girls who are cheering in the theatre seats for a new definition of what it means to be a leading lady, blaster gun and all.