Let me tell you a little story about the Ghostbusters and me.
When I was seven years old, my Aunt Jaye took me to see Ghostbusters II in the theater. Before the movie, we went to a fancy restaurant for dinner and ate hamburgers and fries and talked about all the kinds of things seven-year-old girls and their cool, Federal-Express-paralegal aunts talk about. It was wonderful. A few years earlier, she had taken me to see Earnest Goes to Jail because even though I was a little kid, Jaye got me on a level that no one else quite could. Everyone should have a person in their life like Jaye.
After dinner, we went to see the movie. The original Ghostbusters had come out when I was too young to see it, so this was my first brush with Egon, Ray, Winston, and the incomparable Peter Venkman. Like a whole generation of adults and kids alike, I was obsessed with the movie.
It was funny but it was scary.It was gross and hilarious, often at the same time. It showed me how you can always count on someone to help you when your bathtub tries to eat you and your baby. It had culture. I mean, Vigo the Carpathian lived in a painting, for Pete’s sake. How classy can you get? Above all, it showed me a band of brothers who were eccentric at best and insane at worst, but knew that they needed each other to save a city from itself. I loved that movie at seven, and I love it at thirty-three. So when I heard rumblings a few years ago that a remake/sequel/addition to the franchise was very probable, I was excited. I’ve heard bits and pieces about the movie since then, and last week by the miracle of the Facebook feed, I happened upon a picture of the new cast – a cast that includes Kristin Wiig and Melissa McCarthy.
Look at them. Clearly, bustin’ makes ’em feel good:Now, after a little visit to IMDB I realized that the general populace has known of the new cast since it was revealed in, like, January, but I’m a working mom and I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes
So I see Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones and Melissa McCarthy. I get freaking excited, and yeah, I’ll admit that part of my excitement was due in part to the fact that they are all women. I mean, freakin’ go us.* But my excitement was primarily rooted in the fact that these women are extremely funny, talented people who have been selected as the newest Ghostbusters, and therefore the odds that the movie they are currently making will also be funny and awesome are good. Logic.
*But guess what: I would have also been excited if Seth Rogen and the crowd that runs with him had been cast as Ghostbusters. Turns out you can be proud of your gender without being smug.
And then in my naivete I hopped into the comments to say YAY NEW GHOSTBUSTERS LET’S ALL HAVE A HAPPY PARTY TOGEEEEEETHER and I was met with a lot of people who did not share my sentiment. Whatever. Totally get it. There are people who hate The Royal Tenenbaums for reasons that I still cannot fully comprehend, but I’ve learned to coexist with them and to still have faith in humanity. The fact that we don’t all think the same things are awesome is what makes the world go ’round. Kumbaya and all that. I would rather have my teeth drilled than watch football, but football makes a lot of people really, really happy so who am I to judge?But then the plot thickened and my blood began to boil. You see, a disturbingly high number of “fans” credited their ill opinion of this movie – a movie whose trailer hasn’t even been released yet – to the gender of the actors.
“There’s just no effing way a Ghostbuster can be a girl.”
They said that their childhoods were ruined because Melissa McCarthy is now a Ghostbuster. (Apparently your past life can be retroactively ruined by the casting of a movie. If this is true then my fond memories of that Easter egg hunt we had when I was five will be obliterated if George Lopez is cast in the new Bladerunner.)
They made funnies: Ghostbusters? More like ballbusters AMIRITE.
They did the classic Sexist But. It’s when you say, I’m not a sexist, but this movie is going to totally blow chunks because the girls made us let them play, too. Waaaaaaaaaah.
Some said that the casting of women in roles that have been played by men in the past was totally unrealistic.
Yes. Unrealistic. In a franchise wherein a giant Marshmallow Man walks through the streets of New York.My personal favorite were the people who are actually saying that if they were going to have all-female Ghostbusters, “they could have at least picked pretty ones.” Because, you know, the Ghostbusters of my childhood really left me hot and bothered. I mean, that Egon. Daaaaaaayum.
The comment thread for any post about the upcoming Ghostbusters is seriously one of the most sexist forums I have encountered in a long time, and it makes me sad that anyone who could love these movies as much as I do would think that their only integrity resides in the maleness of the original cast. Seriously, I’m pretty sure that if you walked up to Bill Murray and were like, “Dude, remember that time you were a man in those Ghostbusters movies? Yeah, you were awesome, but the whole entire time I was thinking that if you had been a chick, you would have sucked.”
It makes me sad that there are people who still believe that women are not capable of being funny. (Yes, this is an actual thing.) Have Tina Fey and Amy Poehler taught us nothing?
It makes me angry to know that if the filmmakers had dressed the actors in skin-tight jumpsuits with their breasts on display, there wouldn’t have been as much of an outcry. I mean, how dare they hide in baggy khaki the hips that were meant to bear children? Women belong in the kitchen makin’ me a sandwich, not out in the streets busting ghosts and making me laugh.
Will the movie be good? I certainly think it will be, but I really won’t know until I see it. But even if it’s not, it will have nothing to do with the gender of the actors. There are lots and lots of things that have to be done just so to make a movie fail or work (if you need proof, just see the triumphantly glorious failure that is Troll 2), so one single contributing factor can’t do it.
So, sorry, sexist jerkwads. Your unwillingness to get past the genders of a few people is preventing you from enjoying a potentially awesome movie.
But don’t worry; I don’t mind eating your share of the popcorn.
This is the best. They very, very best.
Thank you! It’s kind of funny that *this* of all issues is the one to really rile me up.
I for one can’t wait to see the movie. I think people gonna hate so they can just skip the movie. LOL
You do know Em, that your IQ drops 20 points each time you read comments on Yahoo and IMDB types of articles, right? Female comics are awesome! Kate is going to be the next breakout star, you just watch. Since you don’t get out that much, you might have missed one of the funniest SNL skits ever. It stars Melissa. If you have never seen Hidden Valley Ranch, take a gander girl.
Don’t I know it! I usually do a great job of blissfully ignoring the comments, but this time I was a miserable failure. Lesson learned! Thanks for the tip, Rob!
The picture makes me wonder if the cast actually enjoyed their part…I don’t think of it as gender-bias, but I do feel guys look better saving the world :) Women have better things to do.
I’m sorry…I just can’t let this one go.
First of all, “The picture makes me wonder if the cast actually enjoyed their part…”
Here is a list of photos of women doing super kickass things that men are supposed to be better at because of their awesome penises, but if you judge by the photos, you’ll probably think they’re miserable.
-Olympic Wrestler for the USA, Clarissa Chun and Ireni Merleni of Ukraine looking SUPER miserable being super awesome.
-Serena Williams after her 700th win in April of this year (so much miserable.)
-Construction Worker Maggy Gusman, being miserable and ESSENTIAL for the last 20 years.
-Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has had 100 years worth of MISERABLE female deputies.
-In some parts of the world, even miserable looking women can become Sheriff! Take Kim Riechert for example.
-Brig. Gen. Loretta Reynolds, the FIRST female Marine Corps general knows miserable women can handle combat.
– Miserable looking Nellie Tayloe Ross became the first female Governor in US history and THEN the first female leader of the US Mint. But, ya know…she was obviously miserable the whole time.
I’m gonna end my list here even though this could go on all day. Because it turns out that despite appearances, a lot of women really, REALLY enjoy doing things they’re told only men should be out doing. CRAZY!
But, there is one last thing:
How could there ever be *anything* “better to do” than save the world? I’ll be honest with you, if it came down to “save the world” or perfect my cheesecake recipe, I’m going to go for saving the world, Because…ya know…there actually isn’t anything better I could be doing, even if I do have a stupid, miserable vagina.
Dear Tamara, Thanks for your long list and also for sharing your viewpoint. I don’t understand why a feminist viewpoint must make us blind to sarcasm and humor? The fact is, the cast doesn’t really look funny in the image you’ve shared. They look very serious – but perhaps that’s how we’d all be if didn’t enjoy what we did. I think I commented on your blog in error. I appreciate women scaling great heights, but I’d also like them to retain their sense of humor and enjoy what they are doing. Ghost-busting isn’t something that perhaps this group of women appear to enjoy. Appreciate your taking out time and responding to my remark. Thanks.
The sarcasm here seemed really, really subtle. I’m not blind to it. But, a lot gets lost when sarcasm is used over the internet versus in person. (It’s difficult to gauge tone.) You seemed to genuinely feel this way. Which genuinely shocked me. So, I genuinely responded.
Of course, I genuinely feel that “Saving the World” from Ghosts is a figment of our imagination, and I’d anyway leave such pursuits to men. I’d rather march into the traditional bastions of men and show that what men can do, I can do better. However, busting ghosts or being superwoman isn’t one of the things that I’d worry about. I appreciate your fervor for the cause and totally understand where you are coming from. I bow out of this discussion now. Thank you once again.
It’s a tall order, for sure!
Very well said! I fail to understand how in today’s day and age people can still manage indulge in such trivial sexism as the casting of a movie >.< You should never ever read the comments section of sites like IMDb, YouTube etc, they make you lose faith in humanity faster than you can read them!
Don’t I know it! There’s actually this great Twitter account that does nothing but tweet simple reminders to never, EVER read the comments. It’s good advice. Comment sections are the digital equivalents of irrational road rage.
Yet here we are, posting comments! Of course, readers of The Waiting are all quite intelligent and discriminating.
Great post! I never saw Ghostbusters (Cue the shock and horror), but I can’t imagine why the gender of said ghostbusters would make a difference. I am sometimes amused, but more often horrified, by the comment threads on articles and posts I see online. People’s ignorance, prejudices, and sheer hate just come spewing out. Thanks for calling out these sexist losers. If you’re a woman looking for a real man, who you gonna call? Not them!
That’s the thing: their gender DOESN’T make a difference at all to the plot of the movie! I could see a problem if, like, the original movies were based on shopping for jock straps or something, but they’re not. Some people are just threatened by a woman doing anything except pumping out babies so they’ll take any opportunity to scream about it.
You know what? Even if they were shopping for jockstraps… I feel like Melissa could pull it off hahaha
How about like, not “female comics” or “male comics” but…”comics”? When do we get there??? It’s so tiresome the way we have to categorize people. I know it’s a human trait to pattern-seek and therefore we categorize things and therefore we categorize people, but omg. Perhaps it’s just a threshold that’s being cleared. I mean, 50 years ago somebody might have come back from their annual physical and said, “Hey, I just got back from seeing my female doctor…” Or 60 years ago? 70?
Your comment reminded me of a time when my son was about four years old. He looked up at me and said, “Mommy, can boys be doctors?” I chuckled, but it occurred to me how far we had come that female doctors were ubiquitous in the boy’s life. Change comes slowly, but it does come.
When I posted this to my own FB page, one of my friends made the exact same point about the inane categorization of female vs. male. He’s in the culinary industry and said that he thinks you often see separate “Best Chef” and “Best Female Chef” at awards ceremonies because if they did away with the female category, women would win ALL the top prizes. And we just couldn’t have that, could we!?
They assembled a hilarious cast and have an excellent director. However I’m not stoked on a remake of an already awesome movie. The movie nerd in me feels like there is nothing sacred in Hollywood. They will remake anything and everything. I’d rather see these women in an indie film.
Totally feel that. Hell, the entire cast of Arrested Development was behind the new seasons, and I thought they stunk to high heaven.
I snorted at “ballbusters.” And now the song is stuck in my head. Not a ballbuster song…the movie one. You know.
Who ya gonna call? BALL BUSTERS!
Those are my super heroes!
I missed Ghostbusters and all of it’s sequels, I’ll miss this one too. Part of the problem is Hollywood’s inability to come up with anything new. People will always whine about remakes, sequels and prequels – in this case they’re jumping on the gender aspect of it, but they would likely have whined if it was Seth Rogan and company too. Apparently they had asked Seth to be in it originally, but he had a shooting conflict, as he’ll be co-starring with Danny McBride and Adam Sandler in a remake of “Little Women”.
I see what you did there 😂
I’d say that I learned being clever from watching the movies, but we both know I didn’t.
love Melissa McCarthy:)
She’ll always be Sukey to me 😀
Me too! I love her as Sookie. She was also really good in St. Vincent.
If it makes the sexist man-boys and self-hating ladies out there (because a lot of women are sexist against their own gender too…weird…) they can all rest easy knowing that had men been cast in these roles, they’d have been paid MORE than these four female actors based on their possession of a penis alone. I think that’s probably what they remind themselves when women get treated like equals in some form or another.
*rocks back and forth*
“It’ll be okay, it’ll all be okay. I still make more than women who do the exact same thing I do, so technically everyone still knows I’m better than them. Phew.”
*out there feel better >_<
The woman-hating females are almost worse than the woman-hating males, for sure. We don’t all have to call ourselves feminists (which, BTW, I think is one of the greatest liberties of feminism – we can chose our own identities), but we can all, you know, support each other when what we’re doing (ie, acting in a movie) isn’t hurting anyone.
Most of the ire I saw was due to many people thinking the movie shouldn’t be re-made at all.
I just thought about something in regards to GB2: That baby is pretty young. Dana’s marriage must have pretty much fallen apart right after he was born.
Yep, and I still contend that the shouldn’t-be-remade-because-it-messes-with-a-classic argument is waaaay more valid than the shouldn’t-be-remade-because-ladies-are-poopypants argument.
Also, I have thought about Oscar’s age a lot too. Poor Dana.
One reason I’m not looking forward to a new movie – I loved the first ones. Ghostbusters without Egon is not Ghostbusters. I don’t know any of the actors in the remake because I live under a rock.
I’m also not crazy about the studio promoting their “all female Ghostbusters.” I’m afraid that’s their selling point, and they’re just phoning it in after that. Like it’s a pat on the head to all the double-X chromosomes out there.
Did you ever watch the Gilmore Girls? Melissa McCarthy is Sukey. Trust me, it’s in good hands 😊
I didn’t ever watch Gilmore Girls. I think I was the wrong demographic when it came on TV.
It’s never too late! I am in my 50s and currently watching the series for the fourth time with my youngest daughter. You can find it on Netflix!
The comments field can be a dangerous place. I am all on board to see this movie because I will pretty much watch anything with Melissa in it, I love her, she cracks me up! I have always loved Ghostbusters, in fact reading this today has made me want to go back and rewatch them.
I also liked how you mentioned them wanting pretty ones and saying, “the Ghostbusters of my childhood really left me hot and bothered”, cracked me up because honestly those boys weren’t conventionally attractive at all, but how they looked had nothing to do with why we loved them so :) Meanwhile whoever that person was is rude because I do think they are pretty :)
Yep, the way they wielded those proton packs was way sexier than anything else could be.
I ain’t afraid of no misogynists.
Who ya gonna call? GLORIA STEINEM.
You know what? Spot. On. I guffawed when you wrote about how unrealistic it would be to cast women as ghostbusters…as if being realistic is a major concern of the particular franchise. And I especially love how they’re dressed. Wtf is wrong with people? Also: sexism is far from being dead.
Kristen and Melissa. They are funny. I’ll watch it just because they are there guaranteed laughs
My opinion is that of “they shouldn’t remake classics without an original cast” but then I saw the new Jurassic Park and died with happiness…
This actually started a brutal fight with some of my real life friends and online friends on my Facebook page last year, so I’m steering clear of anymore discussion of it on my profiles. Bitches be crazy.
This is the best, great!
[…] I’m a lifelong fan of the Ghostbusters franchise and I was psyched last year to see that the latest installment would not only happen but that Sony had ambitiously selected an all-female ca…. And those females? They’re pretty stellar humans. […]