The Human Centipede 2 featured sexualised torture and degradation, Antichrist went with child death, The Passion of the Christ had its dubious anti-Semitism and Ghostbusters (2016) cast women instead of men. Which one of these films was the most controversial? The answer may surprise you!
From the initial announcement about the reboot and the gender swap of the stars, audiences have been debating, (and often just plain spouting vitriol), about the merit of this change. For many, the casting of the four women with such strong comedic credentials – like Saturday Night Live and Bridesmaids – was an exciting prospect; but for many others, it was a travesty, sacrilegious even. Now, after the release of the film, the conversation has not let up.
Is it sexist to objectively dislike the movie? No. But what people making that argument have to understand is that an awful lot of the criticism, as evidenced by the fact that much of it started long before the film was released, does come from a place of sexism, indisputably. Comments like “Lazy Hollywood film making ‘let’s make a ghostbusters remake but with women!’ Only soccer moms and feminist bimbos will watch that trash,” and “Well, at least this cast didn’t star in a remake of Showgirls” came out after the release of the trailer, and show that the backlash just was not just against the perceived poor quality of the script and direction, but the fact that women are cast in the roles and even worse, they are not up to the standards of attractiveness for some of these men and boys.
This pure vitriol how now evolved into a more intellectual kind of sexism. Proclamation before any criticism of the film that of course, knee-jerk SJW feminists will call their absolutely objective opinion sexist, and that women, in disagreeing with this opinion are the ones who are being reductive and misandrist. Rather than address the two sides of the debate, these reviewers often choose just to flip the script, ‘you’re the one who’s being small minded and digging in your opinion, not me!’
It is hard to define exactly where all the anger comes from, it seems in many cases to stem from a false sense of ownership. Why do so many boys and men think because they love a film it belongs to them? How can they begrudge young girls the chance to watch women being intelligent, and funny, and cool and feel the same amount of joy they apparently did when they watched the original? For years, Hollywood has pandered to the preferences of males, and they have had almost every iconic hero to look up to, and see themselves in. Change this narrative, and many react as if a toy has been taken away from them, adult men, and given to a little girl. This tantrum response, much like the one when Furiosa led Mad Max: Fury Road, and Rey became the main character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, (see a pattern there?) would be laughable, if it weren’t so infuriating.
What a lot of the criticism wilfully ignores is the sheer face that reboots usually do not measure up, and it is very hard to believe that if the film were exactly the same but with males of the same comedic chops of Wiig, McKinnon, McCarthy and Jones, it would have any kind of the amount of negative backlash.
The most frustrating thing for those trying to fight against this sexist vitriol at this point is that it is so often countered with, ‘I’m not being sexist, the movie is bad,’ which is a fine opinion to have, but it entirely dismisses the truth that such a huge percentage of the hate around the film is pure misogyny, and that no one is fabricating the endless stream of tweets, comments and forums about how women are not funny, and why this is a pandering PC campaign to ruin everything these people hold dear. Leslie Jones (Patty Tolan) was pushed off Twitter recently because of the sheer amount of racist and sexist abuse she was getting as a result of starring in this film, and those who close their eyes and ears to the root of this hatred and scream “but I’m not sexist, I just didn’t like the movie!” effectively vindicate the ones who commented ‘The tall, dark, obese Neanderthal looking one is kinda ugly…. jus sayin’…” and “Cancel this movie, no one wants to watch these stupid c***s ruin an epic franchise.”
A very clear message to the ones upset that women were given roles originally occupied by men is this: Maybe consider that everything is not for you and calm down.