Hollywood is remaking a movie, but this time they’re replacing an original all-male lead with women. Ghostbusters, orginally brought to us with stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson, is being rereleased this July with Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. Hollywood is claiming to be tapping into their “feminist” side, but are they?
Everyone knows that I’m a feminist. I guess you could say that I’m even a “raging” feminist. And, as a feminist, I will say this: the new Ghostbusters is, in no way, a feminist revamp. Okay, so maybe I’m a huge fan of the original film and its influnce on pop culture (even today) and, yes, I’m lowkey in love with Bill Murray and, right, I’m not a huge fan of Hollywood remakes, BUT I’m approaching this problem solely as a feminist.
But you don’t really need to be a feminist to identify the problem here.
The new Ghostbusters is not a feminist revamp because…
1. It takes an old idea and just *puts* women into it.
Ghostbusters (2016) isn’t feminist because it’s not a stand-alone film. It’s based off an idea written over thirty years ago. This version has literally taken an old concept and storyline that was predominately male and replaced the male cast with females. This is the same shit as making a female Thor. No, that’s not feminist. That’s just making a female counterpart for a male-inspired superhero. The characters for the new Ghostbusters are inspired by the previously male characters that they’re replacing. A “feminist” film would be a brand new concept with an all-female leading cast, preferrably not in gender-conforming roles.
2. It’s an example of Hollywood’s laziness.
This is a prime example of Hollywood trying to make money off of a classic, while having an excuse to do so. It’s the same reason there are literally 500 Fast and Furious movies–Hollywood knows that people will go to see this remake, no matter what its quality is. Attaching a “feminist” label on this film works to bring in more of a crowd, and attract more women overall. In general, Hollywood tends to make pretty shitty remakes anyway, so my fear is that they’ve attached an all-female cast to this remake to try and mask that shittiness. Regardless of how the film actually turns out, it’s not a feminist film because it’s just a remake, plain and simple.
3. The original Ghostbusters never needed a “feminist” revamp.
There is so much support about this new “feminist” film on the Internet and, though I’m all about uplifiting women and can understand the problems that feminists hold with the original film, I have some issues with their problems, of which I’ll state three. 1) No one cried about the misogynistic plot of the original film until now: no one was complaining about the underlying misgoynistic plot of the original until they had a reason to. If they truly cared about this plot–so deeply enough to make blog posts about it–they would have done it long before now. Hell, they probably didn’t even know what Ghostbusters was until all of this. 2) For 1984, this film wasn’t considered misogynistic: times have changed, folks, and some things now are considered inappropriate in pop culture that, even ten years ago, were completely acceptable to joke about. For this time period, this was a typical film: male cast with a female side-chick who acted as a sexy goddess/sex portal thingy. Pretty typical for the 80’s. Sad by today’s standards, but we can’t judge it on today’s standards either. 3) If we’re going to “revamp” this popular misogynistic film from the past, we might as well do all of them: we might as well revamp all of our misogynistic favorites such as Indiana Jones or The Breakfast Club, both films that weren’t considered offensive to women when written but, now, are kind of embarassing to our sex. Ghostbusters was not written to offend or marginalize women, it’s just how movies are written in Hollywood, especially in 1984.
Basically, what I’m trying to get at is this: if you’re so worried about Hollywood being more feminist and casting more women in roles, why don’t you push for new films and new concepts about women, meant to empower women? That’s something I’d like to see, because films like the new Ghostbusters are not feminist, just remakes on the idea that they’ll make bank on womens’ money.
Image Courtesy of: Columbia Pictures