Response to Ghostbusters’ Controversy

On July 15, 2016, the released of the new movie Ghostbusters caused quite a bit of controversy. The remake of the 1984 Ghostbusters supernatural comedy film probably wouldn’t have gained a whole lot of attention had it not been for the reversal of the cast. The original movie depicted 4 males finding and destroying ghosts, while the new version does the same, just with women instead of men.

The movie itself was considered fine, if a little silly, but the backlash due to the cast was atrocious. 73% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes recommended the film, which is considered pretty good, but the IMBD film user rating was just a 5.3, not something to be proud of in the slightest. This is a very strange and major difference between viewers’ responses and critics’ responses, and the main reason is probably due to the sexist people out there who didn’t think that the gender switch was acceptable.

People said that it demeaned men instead of empowering women, yet there are so many movies in which the woman is devalued to just the love interest that are considered brilliant–it makes you wonder why people are only arguing when the roles switched.

Most of the reviews came out before the movie even did, reminding us of the responses when people found out that there was to be a Black Hermione Granger or Annie, two beloved fictional characters from movies Harry Potter and Annie, begging the question: Do we really live in such an un-accepting society that we can’t bear to change our fictional characters’ gender or race? Do those two uncontrollable aspects of us change the quality of an unrelated movie?

All four of the actresses in Ghostbusters got so much protest online, that one, Leslie Jones, declared that she would leave Twitter after being targeted by online trolls who sent her racist, sexist hate. People publicly harassed her, and why? Because she was a woman in what some consider a “man’s film”. She tried to defy gender roles, but our intolerant society didn’t allow it.

The reviews stopped being about whether it was a good film or not–the movie began to be judged by the type of person acting in it. Not the actors’ talents, but their gender. Something they can’t control. Films were created for entertainment, for leisure, for happiness, and yet all of this racist, sexist, bigoted hate ruins it.

People want to live in a world where they can be who they want to be, where they can express themselves in spite of what race, or gender they might have been born with. America was created as a land of opportunities, yet these trolls, these haters take all of that away. And that is not okay.

-Katie Jain (redefy Journalism Team member)