I’ll be honest, I didn’t got to the theatre last Saturday to watch the new Ghostbusters movie. My roommate was driving me crazy and my house was hot and I was escaping to the air conditioned movie theatre to see the hopefully lighthearted and heartwarming Finding Dory. Except when I got to the theatre, the show times at the box office didn’t match the ones I looked up on their website earlier.
And so that’s how I ended up seeing the new, revamped, sex-reversed Ghostbusters. In case you’ve been camping in the woods for the whole summer and have missed out on the hype, here’s the lowdown: this summer’s blockbuster Ghostbusters is a remake of the 1984 classic. The latest version stars kick-ass, empowered women in the four lead roles (Melissa McCarthy, Kristin Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones). McCarthy, Wiig, and McKinnon are scientists studying the paranormal and building cool shit to kill ghosts and Jones joins them as the New York City expert. And of course they have to stop a paranormal invasion. And… of course they also have swoon-worthy Chris Hemsworth as their administrative assistant.
So what did I like? I liked that the lead characters were unapologetically themselves. That they could be smart and powerful, and kick some ghost-ass without being hyper-sexualized. And they were funny too! Like laugh out loud, almost pee my pants, wish they included ALL the outtakes at the end, funny. They worked together as a team to overcome obstacles, instead of getting caught in some sort of petty cat-fight with each other.
What still needs work? I get that the pendulum has been stuck too far to one side of the whole ‘stereotypical role’ thing for too long. The side where the damsels are in distress or have to have their boobs and midriffs bared while holding a firearm. I get it. I really do. And I’m sick and tired of it too. This movie takes that pendulum and swings it so far in the opposite direction that my neck kind of hurt from the whiplash. Here, in this alternate Hollywood universe, we have beefcake Hemsworth being hyper-sexualized and playing the idiot hot guy with all the girls running around in shapeless coveralls overpowering ghosts without batting an eyelash.
I felt empowered, and yet… I wonder why my sense of empowerment as a female has to come from the disempowerment of men. Does my achievement have to come at the expense of others? This belief in scarcity or all-or-nothing approach fosters disconnection. I look forward to the next reboot of Ghostbusters in another 10 years when there is a team of empowered men AND women, none of whom fit a stereotypical mold, who work TOGETHER to fight the forces of darkness. Because in real life, true positive possibilities arise when we believe we can all achieve success together.
Amy Kellestine is an educator, engineer, Arati life coach and entrepreneur living in Edmonton, Alberta. She spends her free time camping, gardening, and volunteering for causes such as Cystic Fibrosis and nature conservation. She is a devoted mother, who is passionate about helping others and writing.