Ghostbusters And The Nostalgia For Male Privilege

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It would be nice to say that the controversy around the forthcoming remake of the 1984 classic Ghostbusters is unprecedented. But we only need to take a look at the unfortunate reality of Gamergate to recognize the cold and uninviting truth of the matter: in certain circles of culture, women are still a long way from being seen as equals.

The controversy, which has been brewing for a handful of months, initially reared its repugnant head when the first trailer (seen above) for the film became the most “disliked” movie trailer in YouTube history. The thumbsdown campaign, some have reported, was a co-ordinated attack against the film — one that participants claimed was based solely on the merits, or lack thereof, of the trailer.

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Things got a bit more heated recently when Cinemassacre’s James Rolfe posted a video pre-emptively refusing to even see the new Ghostbusters movie, let alone review it. In the video, Rolfe claims that Paul Feig’s “female Ghostbusters” throws everything that made Ivan Reitman’s version great out the window by keeping the same title and recasting the original Ghostbusters (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson — Harold Ramis passed away in 2014) in cameo roles instead of letting them reprise their iconic characters.

But this is where the logic stops — if it ever was logic in the first place.

To be clear: there is, of course, absolutely nothing sexist about thinking that a trailer for a comedy that happens to star women isn’t any good. And the first trailer for Ghostbusters admittedly left a lot to be desired. But things took a nasty turn with the dialogue surrounding the film became vitriol. The backlash from a small pocket of fans was overwhelming. Sure, some of the criticism made no attempt to hide its abhorrent thoughts on women taking over a man’s movie. But so much of the Internet’s howl claimed that the film simply looked bad, bad enough for people to be angry and feel as though Hollywood had forsaken their childhood.