I feel a rant coming on. I’ve got my ranting socks pulled up to my knees and I’m ready to go. OK. Consider yourself forewarned.
Let’s talk about the new Ghostbusters trailer — you know, the one with all the kick-ass ladies in it? — this has brought out the worst in a lot of folks, and I’m trying to understand why. Before getting to the actual film, I’m going to try and puzzle out the flaws in the film industry in general.
It seems to me that there are “girlie” films, and then… well…. films. The male-orientated, straight-white-dude films are the default in pretty much every genre. Female-fronted — or God forbid — female ensemble films are perceived as a niche market: for women only. Which I think is kinda sad. And more than a little stupid. Females do make up 50% of the population, after all. We’re usually represented in a few typical ways:
Men in women suits (Strong Female Characters),
Plot devices to enable male suffering.
You see a group of women having fun? I’ll bet you it’s a rom-com. You see women talking about anything other then men? I bet you it’s a niche, for-women drama. There are of course fantastic exceptions to this, and I am so incredibly grateful for them. But for now, at least, they’re in the minority.
I mean, you can put a female in a lead role and not have that film be about “women issues”. Newsflash: women don’t always want to chat endlessly about “women issues!”. However, what we would like is some real, fresh representation. Look at Mad Max: Fury Road, for instance. Furiosa is one of the best characters of this decade, let alone the year. That’s people getting it right.
And Melissa McCarthy in the lead role of Spy, as well. This wasn’t a comedy hinging on her gender, and it didn’t hinge on her body type, either. It was well handled, and brilliantly funny.
Not every female-fronted film needs to be Bridesmaids, or Pitch Perfect (though both those films are brilliant!). Aren’t we all humans? Don’t we all face the same struggles and have a vast amount of common ground?
So back to Ghostbusters. How is it so inconceivable that this hugely talented female cast can make a great Ghostbusters movie?
What body parts do you need to bust ghosts, anyway? I don’t remember the criteria being gender-specific.
The biggest kick in the lady-parts of this whole thing is when people have watched the trailer and noticed that the female ensemble cast aren’t in skirts and high heels. And — shock horror — there is body diversity there, too. Why is it a knee-jerk reaction for society to sexualise any female role? What the hell is that about?
The original cast were — by design — nerds, loners, oddballs, and not overly hot. But stick some women in those very same jumpsuits, and all hell breaks loose. This whole film will OF COURSE be a disaster. Seriously, it’s days like this that I want to get off this damn planet.
Things are getting better, slowly but surely. By this film even existing, it shows forward progress. But I know that people will boycott this film, and all it stands for. There were people — cough — men on my social media that had already written it off from the very first promo photo, just because of the cast.
And a newsflash to those narrow-minded people: this isn’t women stealing roles meant for men. This is a bunch of humans playing human characters. Neither gender is more capable than the other in these roles. How hard is that to get into your heads?
The rant socks are coming off now. I’m off to watch the trailer again.