New Ghostbusters Won’t Ruin Anyone’s Childhood, But Not Having Female Role Models Might

crying man babyIf you don’t have a giant baby-man in your circle of friends, you might not be aware of the latest threat to American childhood: the announcement of a new Ghostbusters movie that’s being made with an all-female cast. Yes, by the mere report of its existence, this single reboot is going to retroactively erase everything good and lovable about the original film from history. What a travesty!

But, being the hairy-legged feminist stick-in-the-mud that I am, I can’t help but think that maybe there is something ever so slightly worse than what these great big diaper-babies are whimpering about. You know what’s a little bit worse than seeing one of your favorite classic movies remade with women in the lead roles? Not having any favorite classic movies with women in the lead role. But what do I know? Clearly I will never understand the profound pain these people are experiencing:

childhood ruined 1 childhood ruined 2childhood ruined 3It’s not clear how, exactly, the new all-lady Ghostbusters is going to retcon the comedy of Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd out of existence. Perhaps as part of her contract, Kristen Wiig has required the studio to build her a functioning time machine so she can travel back in time to 1984 to stop the original movie from being made? But having been around for the ’80s myself, I can say it is pretty clear that we’re doing girls a real disservice by not giving them movies about female archaeologists and female Jedi Knights and, yes, female Ghostbusters, too.

As far as representation in media goes, we’re not doing a great job. Family friendly movies have about a 3-to-1 ratio of male to female characters. And when female characters do show up, a significant chunk of them are 1. princesses or 2. in a romantic comedy. That’s not a whole lot of options as far as youthful yearnings go. We can say, “You can be anything you want to be when you grow up!” but how well can our daughters internalize that message when the one they’re receive much more loudly and clearly is, “You’re not funny, you’re not smart, you need to worry about your appearance more, so just let the guys handle the tough stuff”?

My daughter deserves to see hilarious, ass-kicking ladies on the screen – ladies who are treated as something more than a niche interest. And my son deserves that, too. I want him to grow up with that radical notion that women are people: not just love interests or secretaries. Or lonely, token additions to teams full of dudes. No one blinked an eye at an original line-up of four male Ghostbusters, or claimed that the old cast was ruining the childhood of little girls. So how is it, exactly, that the reverse is true?

Giving my kids a childhood full of awesome female role models doesn’t actually mean ruining the childhoods of whiny ‘meninists’ and MRAs, but I would be even more on board if it did. Please, give us a female Indiana Jones. Remake Mad Max with Ming-na Wen in the title role. How about a new Blazing Saddles starring Amy Poehler and Retta? I want it all. My kids deserve a childhood full of role models of all kinds. And the people who think they get to act as the gatekeepers as to which movies deserve female characters and which ones don’t? I’ll enjoy screening the new Ghostbusters alongside a sparkling glass of their entitled, pathetic tears.

(Image: kpatyhka/Shutterstock)

Similar Posts