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‘Ghostbusters’ and why I will always support a female-led film

I’ll just go ahead and say it: I’m sick and tired of all the hate directed toward the Ghostbusters reboot. For the most part the hate has been done by dudes upset that Hollywood would take a nerd icon like Ghostbusters and “ruin” it with a bunch of girls. Whether or not it’s actually ruined is a matter of opinion, personally I really enjoyed the film, but hey, I’ll respect those who have a different viewpoint, as long as it’s not a viewpoint soaked in sexist loathing. 

The internet is all up in arms over the reviews of Ghostbusters because women and Tumblr and all the liberals have united behind this one cause: giving Ghostbusters “unfair” and “biased” positive reviews because it stars a bunch of women and we’re all supporting an agenda. Never mind the fact that this sounds exactly like that obnoxious rallying cry from Gamergate about “ethics in journalism.” No one makes a big political stink when Taken 5: Liam’s Voice is Missing gets made and seen by 90% dudebros and their unwilling girlfriends. No one throws around the words “male agenda” when Hollywood releases yet another all-male movie full of aging B-list actors. No, because that’s expected. That’s Hollywood and the status quo for you, hyuck.

But when one of the most anticipated movies of the summer, a reboot of a classic, comes out and it’s full of women instead of men, it’s suddenly a politically charged issue and MEN WE MUST GATHER THE TORCHES AND SINK THIS SHIP. Then, once fans start to enjoy the film the internet set about sinking, oh well, we’re just lying to fulfill an agenda. As if it’s completely unfathomable to enjoy a movie with a cast of mostly women.

And in discussing those Ghostbusters ratings, FiveThirtyEight’s article on the subject matter perfectly demonstrates why this bias can have a negative impact on ratings as a whole. The important stats of note are from Thursday before the movie was even released in theaters:

Those are pretty damning statistics from groups of people who likely hadn’t even seen the film. Men ranked the movie down to oblivion and women who saw what was happening tried to inflate the scores back up so that then its actual score isn’t indicative of the public’s real opinion. Any scores thereafter have to fight an uphill (or downhill) battle to be seen as legitimate.

Look, the Ghostbusters trailers were bad. I’ll concede that. But even if the movie had received bad reviews, I still would have gone to see it opening night. I still would have supported a female-led film, because that’s how we make things better. There’s a reason why women voted in droves to improve Ghostbusters’ abysmal IMDB score. We want to see heroes in movies we can relate to. 

Here’s the thing: anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge fan of diversity. I’ll support female-created projects and POC-created projects simply because they were made by minorities. Should I judge solely based on quality? Sure, in a perfect world I could do that, but the world isn’t perfect and has an inherent bias toward white heterosexual male-dominated media. Instead of accepting what’s “normal,” I want our culture flooded with so much diversity that someday I can judge solely on quality. I don’t want to live in a world where we have one female movie director and one black actress and you know them by those labels. And the only way to cure that lack of diversity is to support the good and the bad, allowing more minorities the ability to create more media.

No, Ghostbusters isn’t the film that will change the film industry and finally convince studios that women want to see action and comedies full of–GASP–women. At best, it makes in a dent in the future we’re trying to carve out for ourselves. But Ghostbusters does one thing really well for its fans: it gives us women a choice. So often in ensemble films there’s a group of men and one woman, so as a human of the vagina variety, I am forced to identify with this one female character, who more often than not is a shell of a character compared to her to male counterparts. Let’s not act like Black Widow was some paragon of diversity here.

But in Ghostbusters, there are so many female characters to choose from to be my favorite that it’s perfectly acceptable for me not like Kristen Wiig’s neurotic Erin. (She frighteningly reminds me a little too much of myself.) Instead, I could fall head over heels for Kate McKinnon’s Holtzmann and not feel guilty for not supporting a fellow female.

Isn’t it great when we can actually choose what we like?

About Jen Stayrook

Jen Stayrook
Don't let the fancy nerd duds deceive you; Jen’s never been described as “classy.” You can find her on Twitter where she stalks all of her favorite celebrities: @jenstayrook. Or you can find her on Steam or Xbox dying in every game she plays as "Rilna." Email: jen.stayrook@theworkprint.com

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4 comments

  1. Matt Perri

    For me, it’s not about the women. I saw the original film three times in the theaters.

    The differences are glaring.

    Sony just pumped this out, willy nilly, with no thought. The script was terrible, putting talented actors in roles that were cartoonish and borderline racist at times. The original felt like the actors were playing real people and not caricatures. The Big Bad in this film is an angry little man whereas the original Bad was a female goddess. How do you go from Gozer to Some Angry Dude? Just no imagination or thought. It felt like it was written by somebody who never really understood what made the first film tick.

    Even the ghosts and creatures in the original were creepy. The CGI things in this film didn’t wow me nor were they believable.

    But the worst part was Paul Feig basically dismissing all the naysayers as sexist pigs. And, yes, there are PLENTY of those trashing this film. The screaming on the IMDB forums to downvote it just because is disgusting. I remember the huge fight between all the forum trolls when The Dark Knight threatened their precious #1 and #2 films (“The Godfather” and “The Shawshank Redemption”). It was, at that point, I realized that IMDB needed a better system for their “Top 500”. I don’t believe the ratings system on that site.

    But the reasoning for it is also semi-misleading.

    A lot of the objections aren’t because it’s a female-led film, it’s because a lot of the people in question are pissed at Sony for continually making cinematic shit and telling fans that they’re cupcakes.

    Doesn’t make it right — especially if you haven’t seen the movie yourself to judge it — but I understand the outrage in part.

    Myself, I thought the movie was terrible for all the reasons I listed above.

    I don’t consider myself sexist. I didn’t have an issue with Sony wanting to make a female GB film. I was just offended when my faith in Hollywood got repaid by a studio who simply didn’t give a shit.

    That’s just me.

    I liked your write-up.

    • Jen Stayrook

      Hey, thanks for commenting, Matt. I’ll concede that this isn’t a movie for everyone. I said in my review that the movie does suffer from bad editing, trying to hard to be exactly like the original, and a horrendous villain. I read somewhere that it was originally filmed at around 3.5/4 hours and cut down to 2. That’s a lot of material removed making for some bad editing. And those who offer up calm cases against this movie is fine by me. I don’t expect everyone to like what I do and that’s cool. We should all like different things. That’s awesome!

      But as a female, I grow tired of watching movie after movie after movie laden with mediocre scripts AND overflowing with white men that it’s disheartening to me. My whole point to this was, I admit that Ghostbusters isn’t a great movie but I’ll support it anyway because I want us as fans to be able to have more diversity, more women, more people of color, different voices contributing to the media we consume. I’m tired of the hate, of which there has been too much directed toward these women.

      As for Paul Feig’s comments, he made one tweet before the movie was even released about those naysayers being sexist because they hadn’t seen the film. He’s since apologized (not that it’s right what he did, but considering how hateful the internet can be, I understand lashing out in a moment of frustration).

      • “I want us as fans to be able to have more diversity, more women, more people of color, different voices contributing to the media we consume”
        Yes but it should never be at the price of quality . I think it’s doing women a disservice to blindly applaud bad movies just because they star women . it’s not like we don’t have female heroes that we all love …

  2. You call us men sexist but what about you you like just because it has female cast not because you liked the movie i would have liked it if it was a sequel but there try’ing to replace the first and best GHOSTBUSTERS i would feel the same if it was an all male cast all these female and black going around acting like they deserve more then whites and men look around black and female already get’s more then the white male so stop with this sexist crap everyone sould be equal i’m not sexist and i’m not racist i love my female and i have more black friends then white friends and i’m a white male that’s all just my opinion nothing more

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