When Paul Feig announced the newest cast member for his all-female Ghostbusters reboot, I will admit that I squeed a bit. In case you haven’t heard, Feig announced that Chris Hemsworth would be playing the part of the ladies’ receptionist over Twitter. Hemsworth is best known for his role in the Marvel Universe as Thor, but I will say that he’s got some big shoes to fill, specifically that of Annie Potts who played Janine Melnitz in both the 1984 film and its 1989 sequel.
I’m just waiting for people to start complaining about how Feig is once again raping their childhoods, first by having an all female cast – made up of the incredibly funny Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon – and now by reducing Thor to being their lowly receptionist.
It’s been awhile since a bunch of misogynistic, men’s rights activist man-babies accused director Paul Feig of ruining their collective childhood for having the audacity to have an all-female cast in the Ghostbusters reboot; spouting what Feig described as “Some of the most vile, misogynistic shit I’ve ever seen in my life”. My only reaction to it was a Facebook post where I pointed out:
Do these men even realize that Ghostbusters was a beloved part of MY FUCKING CHILDHOOD, too. (I remember watching it on (and taping it off of) First Choice, motherfuckers.)
Do you have any idea how fucking awesome an all-female cast is for kid-comicbookgoddess, who used to play pretend Ghostbusters? Or, for any other lady who watched the films and the cartoon or who bought the toys and the slime in a can and wanted to be a real-life Ghostbuster?
(Ed’s Note: First Choice, for all you young folks out there, is what TMN/The Movie Network was called way back in the day.)
I’d like to take a second and thank Paul Feig for this. For every fan whining about how their childhoods were irrevocably ruined, I (and a lot of female fans, like Mina Kimes in the Tweet above) want to say thank you for letting women be Ghostbusters in your new film. It’s incredibly important.
What this means is that women no longer only get to be the damsels or the secretaries. We actually get to bust some motherfucking ghosts ourselves, son!
I think that some of the misogynist reaction to the announcement that the central ghostbusting cast would be all women is because men are uncomfortable when they’re being cast in the supporting role. Olivia Wilde described what happened when she took part in a reading of American Pie at LACMA when they switched the genders of the characters and men took on the female supporting role:
And it was so fascinating to be a part of this because, as the women took on these central roles – they had all the good lines, they had all the good laughs, all the great moments – the men who joined us to sit on stage started squirming rather uncomfortably and got really bored because they weren’t used to being the supporting cast. It was fascinating to feel their discomfort [and] to discuss it with the afterward, when they said, “It’s boring to play the girl role!” And I said, “Yeah. Yeah. You think? Welcome to our world!”
This is why this reboot is so important, why gender swapping characters in the reboot is such a profound thing. Not only does it say a lot about gender roles and stereotypes but also power roles – in both Hollywood and in society. Strong, powerful, female heroes/leads in films is incredibly important because representation matters. The cultural texts we consume are incredibly important because as much as they reproduce and reinforce norms and power differentials, they can also deconstruct and challenge them.
Having an all-female reboot isn’t pandering to some feminazi agenda. It’s a way to invigorate and reboot the series and bring it into the present. It’s been 31 years since the original and 26 since the sequel. And It’s exactly why Ivan Reitman chose not to return to the franchise:
I felt it needed fresh eyes as a director and somebody with new ideas.
The thing that these whining assholes don’t get is that Paul Feig has those ideas, one of which was to bring all the “funny [and] amazing” women into the franchise. As Feig, himself, said:
All I know is my ladies are going to kick ass and I would not want to go into battle without them.
And so help me God, if I hear another person say “But women just aren’t funny!” I’m going to kick someone in the metaphorical balls