When news broke that the Ghostbusters remake was going to be all women, every man on Reddit simultaneously exploded. Four female Ghostbusters? The feminists are taking over!
Despite the backlash from die-hard Ghostbusters fans (and misogynists), I was thrilled about the remake. I had never seen the original anyway, and I knew that there was no way in hell that women playing Ghostbusters could ruin it.
And, turned out, I was right. Ghostbusters was groundbreaking.
The groundbreaking things in Ghostbusters were not the women themselves — women are leads in movies all the time. The groundbreaking parts were the few subtle things in the movie itself.
It was the way that the most important relationships in the movie were the ones they had with each other, their friendships. And although there’s nothing wrong with being in a relationship and having a significant other, in many media forms women are taught that they are nothing if they’re not dating a man. Just look at all of the “You’re Single? Now What?!” books marketed toward women each year. Books like this. Books that insist that happiness is only found in a relationship and a relationship is only found when you change certain parts of yourself to meet a man’s standards. My point is that it was refreshing to be able to see women just enjoying each other’s company for the duration of the movie, no “boy troubles” other than the trouble caused by the creepy white-guy villain. It was so cool to be able to see four strong women supporting and just having fun with each other for an hour and a half.
It was the way that they wore baggy jumpsuits the whole time. Every woman in every action movie (ever) is put in ridiculous, unrealistic clothing. Princess Leia and her golden bikini, Black Widow and her skin-tight, leather jumpsuits, the Amazons in Justice League with their ridiculous bikini armor. Women are never allowed to just wear clothes and just be people in blockbuster movies — they always have to be looking sexy in costumes that are just unrealistic for the things they’re doing. They’re always turned into objects for the male audience’s pleasure, even if it just means they get to watch her boobs bounce in high-definition for ninety minutes. In Ghostbusters, there was none of that. No “jiggle physics” (it’s real, look it up), no close-up butt shots, and no objectification. It was just four ladies busting ghost butt and having a blast.
It was the way they actually did things. No one sat terrified in the corner watching everyone else do all the work, no one needed to be saved from a ledge high above the ground by a man in tights. They fought with big guns and “ghost-chippers” and made sure to keep the snarky comments coming. Kate McKinnon even had an awesome slow-motion scene in which she took down ghosts one by one; it’s safe to say I’ve re-watched this scene over a hundred times by now.
Was Ghostbusters a perfect movie? Of course not. I would argue that there is no such thing. However, the Ghostbusters remake was everything I’ve been waiting for from a movie for a really long time, and I hadn’t even realized it. It was the first time in a very long while that I was able to see some of myself in an action movie. I finally felt represented in such a realistic, awesome way that I was singing the Ghostbusters theme the whole rest of the night while doing inept karate moves (much to the dismay of my roommate).