Ghostbusters: Why Is A Female-Led Cast Such A Shock?

ghostbustersLast month, the highly anticipated modern re-make of Ghostbusters was finally released. The term ‘highly anticipated’, in contrast to other blockbusters, is down to one fact: it’s a female led cast…*gasp*…shock horror!

Almost 32 years after the original was released, a new adaptation of the film has reached our cinemas. Forget special effects, comedic lines and its entertainment factor, what seems to be creating the most talk is the gender of the main characters. Unlike the original, this film is led by a group of funny, quick-witted actresses. Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones make up the modernised Ghostbusters.

Prior to the film’s release there was much speculation as to whether it would do well. USA Today released an early review entitled ‘Men Hate It.’, there wasn’t much love from the men who were once boys growing up with the original Ghostbusters. They reported how ‘6,104 males reviewed the movie on with an average rating of 3.5 out of 10, while 1,096 reviews from females average out to 7.5 out of 10’.

Men may hate it, but women are loving it. I saw the film myself in its first week and witnessed several women laughing out loud at particularly hilarious moments from all the leads. What female superheroes have we really got to look up to that aren’t stone-faced (yes, I’m looking at you, Black Widow), and are able to inject humour as well as kick butt?

this-ghostbusters-premiere-photo-shows-why-repres-2-3300-1468523656-2_dblbigMy concern now is, however well and good it is these women are changing the face of film by leading the cast in a relatively ‘man’s world’ (aka nerdy), how much longer until this no longer is an issue to debate? We will only truly reach equality once a female led blockbuster is no longer a noteworthy topic. The fact this development has caused so much fuss just proves how infrequently it happens, and not only with film. There are countless stories of women managing to become CEOs, achieving high positions in parliament…generally doing things widely set aside for men to dominate. Yes, this is a progression worth celebrating, but surely it should no longer be seen as an anomaly. Women should be able to lead blockbuster films without so much commotion.

Even with this development, we once again take one step forwards and two steps back. McCarthy and Wiig lead Ghostbusters at the same time that Star Trek Beyond releases with a heavily male dominated cast, much the same as a number of superhero films that have come before it; Avengers, Batman, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor…the list goes on. We have Catwoman, Supergirl but for every woman led film, there are five male fronted ones already released or in production.

I want to live in a world where having an all female cast is not something to write about due to its controversy, but because of its storyline, talent and delivery. Where we don’t set a woman apart in a presidential race and encourage women to vote for her just because of her controversial gender amongst a race full of men, but because of her intelligence and political ideology. Where girls have someone to look up to in every aspect of the media, not just not few and far between. A girl can dream.

P.S In case you were wondering, the film proved the hateful men wrong. The Guardian praised the new release; ‘Paul Feig’s reboot pays tribute to the 80s blockbuster with in-jokes and cameos – but it’s a brand new work, firing off top-quality zingers every 10 seconds.’ Go give it a watch, it’s a good night out for all…whatever your gender!

Words: Emma Gibbons

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