Last night I watched the original Ghostbusters in anticipation of the reboot that opens this weekend. I have a discordant reaction to this film in that I always laugh through it but I also get so angry that one of the few female characters, Dana Barrett, is so awesome (she’s smart, she’s an accomplished cellist, she’s too busy to call her mom but still talks to her mom when she calls to check in) and yet Dana does absolutely nothing but get abducted and then possessed halfway through the film–but it’s FUN! because she’s acting so SEXUAL! (ugh). The sequel may be bad, but at least Dana has something to do when she goes after her abducted baby. At least she isn’t the one being abducted this time.
But now the genders are switched, and the Ghostbusters are female. Now the women are the active characters. Women will get to watch a film in which one of two supporting female characters isn’t getting abducted, possessed, and then rescued only to kiss someone she barely knows as the credits roll. All stories should have active women, but having active women in this new Ghostbusters film is especially important because the film is taking something that did not have active women and changing that.
This photo from the premiere has been making the rounds on social media (it was first shared on Twitter by Anna Spiess, a 16-year-old fan, according to the Facebook page “A Mighty Girl“). The young girls are dressed in Ghostbuster gear. They are smiling, and one has reached out her hand to connect with one of the film’s stars, Kristen Wiig. This image moved me to tears because it’s the manifestation of the contact young girls make with women on screen with whom they can identify, women who are active, who drive the story, the ones who bust the ghosts.
Whatever you think about the Ghostbusters franchise–whether you love it, don’t care, or think the new film ruins your childhood–please know that this new Ghostbusters is important, at least to me, a woman who does things who wants to see women on film doing things as well.