Bust Ghosts, Not Women: Sexist Responses To The 'Ghostbusters' Trailer Have Got To Go

From Fantastic Four, to Zoolander 2, to Disney’s live-action remake of The Jungle Book, it seems that 2016 might be the year of cinematic reboots, remakes and sequels. Perhaps one of the most anticipated reboots of the year, however, is the all-female Ghostbusters. Yet the response to the recently released trailer was more critical than were previous, celebratory headlines about the film — for reasons both valid and upsetting.

Plenty of people feel a unique sort of discomfort about sequels or reboots of beloved movies. It's easy to feel unsure how the new film will be unique without losing the essence of the original on which it's based. Nobody wants a new addition to ruin or taint their memory of the original.

As a film student, I understand this discomfort. But I felt no such hesitation about the Ghostbusters reboot and have been counting down the days to the new trailer ever since the project was green-lit a year ago. I grew up watching the original Ghostbusters franchise and am still obsessed with that catchy, addicting song that always resurfaces at Halloween parties. It was the first “monster” movie that didn’t plague me with weeks of nightmares, which was a massive milestone in my life (but I won’t get into that right now). What excited me most about this film, however, is its hilarious cast. The film will notably replace the original male cast with an all-star, female lineup, including Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Lesile Jones.

I was shocked, therefore, not just by how many people responded negatively to the trailer's recent release, but why they did so. The trailer, which was uploaded to YouTube on March 3rd, is plagued with horrifying comments about the lead actresses. News flash: beginning a sentence with “I’m not sexist, but…” and ending it with a comment that states how women are not as funny, badass, etc. as men is, in fact, sexist. Stating that you wished they had picked actresses "who are hot” is misogynistic.

I’m not saying that everybody has to be on board with this film. That wouldn’t be fair and, in fact, some raised valid points of concern about the film. For example, many claimed that casting Leslie Jones, the only lead actress of color, as a "regular person" while her white counterparts are scientists, was racist (although Jones disagreed). But if someone isn't looking forward to this film, they should just say, “I am not looking forward to this film” rather than target the performers' gender or claim they should be "hotter."

Furthermore, some claimed that casting women in the reboot is incongruous with the original's all-male cast. Yet, many remakes cast different actors and/or actresses than the original. A new cast, regardless of gender, shouldn’t surprise anybody. These actresses aren't playing the original characters we all grew up loving. They aren’t replacing them or claiming to be better than them. This cast and film represents an entirely separate idea born from an older idea. Viewers can either allow themselves to be refreshed by the new take on the film, which is set years after the original trilogy, or get over it and grow up. There are new, groovy, badass Ghostbusters coming to town, and these bitches are here to stay.

Of course, this isn’t the first time the casting choice for a lead character created controversy even just in this past year. Take Star Wars: The Force Awakens, for example. Some responded to the trailer's release last year with fury that John Boyega, a black actor, was cast as one of the lead characters. Some ignorant moviegoers even suggested a boycott of the film. Similar frustrations arose a few months ago when there was talk of the next James Bond being played by Idris Elba.

To all of this I can only say, "really?" We need to learn to embrace art and its evolution throughout the years. We need to appreciate actors and actresses without pitting them against one another in a battle of the sexes or races and dare ourselves to imagine creative worlds in which diversity can improve a fictional legacy, not tarnish it.

More articles by Category: Arts and culture, Body image and body standards, Media, Misogyny
More articles by Tag: Sexism, News, Gender bias, Social media, Film, Television



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