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The Mass Media

Blacklash Toward Female-Led ‘Ghostbusters’ Film

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The ‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot Gets a Female Cast

I’ve been hearing whispers of “Ghostbusters 3″ for years now, and each time the whispers resurface they bring with them a longing anticipation that nags at my movie-loving soul. But inevitably, this premature excitement weans away with the reconfirmation that Bill “Fucking” Murray is sticking to his guns and remains uninterested in drudging up an old success just to pacify his presently bored co-stars from an earlier time. And even if Murray was to somehow miraculously change his mind now, the passing of Harold Ramis has laid to rest the possibility of a third Ghostbusters movie in all its original glory.
But alas! The film lives on. Dan Aykroyd—whom we have to thank for the birth of the “Ghostbusters” characters as well as the film franchise in general—has passed the reigns over to another qualified writer and director, Paul Feig. It is Feig, amongst others, whom we have to thank for comedy gems such as “Freaks and Geeks” and “Bridesmaids.” But Feig’s recent announcement divulging the official plans for the new “Ghostbusters” has sparked quite the controversy.
Such as it is in modern times, Feig broke the news over Twitter. And also as it is in modern times, people responded.
The backlash toward the 2016 film—though some of it can be chalked up to a hatred toward reboots in general—mostly shares one central theme: sexism.
“Women just got #Ghostbusters, lets see how that works before we start giving people comedy jobs based on anatomy over funnys,” tweeted @jamminDice.
@PissyBadger responded with: “I hear the new ghostbusters movie won’t have proton packs, the women will just bitch at the ghosts until they fuck off.”
“Female Ghostbusters?! I wish these feminists would just BUST their backs with unpaid domestic labor for centuries instead!” wrote @casquettepetita.
@iamlempo tweeted: “Childhood ruined… Who you gonna call? Not the #Ghostbusters – They’re engaged, on with their Mum, Sister, Cousin, best mate or hot date!”
Apparently some fans of the franchise are having a hard time imagining that anyone with a pair of tits and a vagina can possibly fight ghosts and inspire laughter at the same time unless, of course, the audience is supposed to be laughing at their feminine incompetence. It seems as though many of these men are utterly insulted by the challenge to sympathize with a female lead in a blockbuster film, since female leads are a Hollywood rarity.
But it’s worth noting the successes and overall brilliance of each of the women cast as the new “Ghostbusters.” If you didn’t already know and love her from her epic run on Saturday Night Live, Kristen Wiig probably won you over in “Bridesmaids,” a 2011 comedy film that she co-wrote and was also directed by Feig. And Melissa McCarthy, a co-star of Wiig’s in “Bridesmaids,” has won the world over in her last few years of spotlight. McCarthy has been nailing lead roles in major films since “Bridesmaids” hit theaters in 2011 and has several more in the making. For those of you who haven’t been watching SNL in recent years, Kate McKinnon, like Wiig and so many others before her, has become an instant classic. Surely you’ve seen her recent Justin Bieber Calvin Klein ad impersonations. Her new SNL compatriot, Leslie Jones, has been shining in the spotlight as well, displaying from the beginning the kind of ease and confidence that is typically reserved for a seasoned cast member.
So I’m calling bullshit on the insinuation that women can’t be as funny as men, and I think many men in comedy would protest the same. In fact, many have. Aykroyd and Murray—two of the original “Ghostbusters”—have praised Wiig, McCarthy, McKinnon, and Jones as some of the “most magnificent women in comedy.” My only hope is that one day such a statement will lack the gender specification that shows us so clearly how far we still have to go before women and men are accepted as equals both on and off the screen.