The Real Issue With ‘Ghostbusters’ Isn’t Sexism, It’s Male Feminists

On March 3rd Paul Feige’s Ghostbusters trailer dropped to a hail of gunfire. Fans of the original movie (and quality films in general) were, naturally, appalled by just how Mad TV-esque the two and a half minute preview was. And many of those who weren’t fans of the original, and/or had no investment in the film at all, used this as an opportunity to highlight the fact that it was “men picking on women” yet again. “Baby men who don’t want girls in their boy club with their boy movies.”

These arguments are ignoring one core fact: the movie genuinely does look like a turd. 

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Ghostbusters (2016) – officially the least popular trailer in film history.

You sign onto Twitter, you log onto Tumblr, you check out your Facebook feed – on each and every platform you’ll see one prevalent voice: people defending this movie from the brigade of sexists tanking the trailer on YouTube and vocally criticizing it on social media. The only problem is… nobody has ever said, “This movie is going to suck because it stars four women.” Nobody.

And when I say ‘nobody’, I’m being a bit hyperbolic. What I really mean is, 0.0083% of those discussing the film actually have — but that number is so insignificant compared to the rest that it is best to be categorized as a pure 0%, thus ‘nobody.’

What people have been doing, though, is criticizing the movie for its apparent weaknesses based off the two trailers that’ve been released. Professional movie critics are almost reluctant to point out just how bad it looks because they’re scared of being lumped in with these surprisingly well hidden sexists. As if, you know, the general public would’ve assumed Roger Ebert had the same values as a YouTube commenter.

It must stated that thousands of people combatting five 12 year olds, a literal handful of chauvinistic fans, and a couple of Twitter trolls do not make for an actual issue. On the contrary, what’s become more nauseating to bear witness to has been the initiative some have taken to use this non-existent ordeal as a soapbox to propel themselves and let everyone know that they’re ‘good people.’

Men specifically in this case cannot wait to tell you how much they don’t hate women. They’ve begun to use this Ghostbusters debacle as a soapbox to inform you and everyone else that they’re nice. That they care about equality. Which would be great if it wasn’t so methodical and self-serving.

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Follow Kumail Nanjiani on Twitter for more dull, pandering tweets. (@KumailN on Twitter)
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Keene also likes to drop in conversation that, as a male feminist, he eats girls out on the second date. (@BrianKeene on Twitter)
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Patton Oswald takes a moment to bash James Rolfe of Cinemasscre for his polite explanation of foregoing the Ghostbusters remake. (@PattonOswalt on Twitter)

The internet is filled with men rebelling against this unspoken, yet seemingly omnipresent, majority. It’s their duty to let the world know, “Women — you’re safe with me. And let me make it clear, any and all criticism of this movie (except perhaps my own, but I think it looks great – honest!!!!!!!) is an act of sexism.”

They. Are. Everywhere.

Not even the undercooked second trailer, which was marginally better than the first, could scare them off of this social justice train that’s about to be derailed. As a matter of fact, social media users and clickbait outlets such as Gawker and Salon (I’m not even going to bother linking to their “articles”) have only gotten more revved up as a result of the reinforced opinion that this movie is showing signs of being a clunker.

What’s amusing is that none of these white knights have rushed to the defense of the new Star Wars: Rogue One trailer and the sexism surrounding that. Although, that might be because… there isn’t any. Nobody cares that the lead is female. There are no outraged cries or people attempting to boycott it. Why? Because from what we’ve seen, the film actually appears to be good. See, this is how trailers work. You watch a two minute montage of the feature and then form an opinion.

In this situation, people have something to gain from the vitriol surrounding this movie. They can benefit from clicks. They can gain new followers. They can grab the attention of those who agree or disagree (such as myself). Or they can be applauded for ‘taking a stand’ against the ‘patriarchal mindset’ plaguing the trailer’s viewers.

Ultimately, here’s what it boils down to: these acts and statements are transparent. Or rather, they should be transparent. Unfortunately some people actually buy into these unapologetic crocks of shit. And despite what Ghostbusters (2016) director Paul Feig would have you believe, you’re not asshole if you dislike his movie’s trailer. It does, however, make you of sound mind.

Jayme Karales is the author of DISORDERLY, the director of WIZARD, and the producer of TRUANT. His work has been published by Thought Catalog, The Rebel, Underground Books, and many others.

Read Books by Jayme Karales

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About Jayme Karales

Jayme Karales is a writer, filmmaker, actor, and comedian. He is the founder of Clash Media, the director of Practice Makes Perfect, and currently stars in the UnHollywood original series The Hutchcast. His writing has been published by Thought Catalog, The Rebel, Before Sunrise Press, Your Daily Subvert, Moon Project, and others. Follow @JaymeKarales on Twitter.

2 Responses

  1. Always an interesting take. It’s at least partially true. The only problem is that men started complaining as soon as the movie was announced. When there were rumors of the movie, men and sexists went crazy. I first heard all of that in the spring and summer of 2014.

    Online and in person.

    And I was in Cali working in videography with a ton of filmmakers and they screamed and whined and complained. They said it was stupid. They said it was dumb. They said all the things about liberals and feminists and being PC. And these were people that were normally very progressive. I was shocked. So many many people–mostly men, hated the film before it was cast, before it was shot, and before we saw a trailer. And with each announcement they groaned.

    That first trailer was awful, but it seemed that a lot of people had their mind made up before that. I thought the second trailer was much better.

    And even with the Star Wars comparison, people complained similarly about Rey and also about this new character but to a lesser extent. I think partially because the trailer is better and partially because they’d been down that road with Rey. The awfulness of the GB trailer added confidence, but the sexism in every comment section is SO strong. And a better way to look at it, might be to examine the opposite. There are SO many women super excited about Rey and Jyn annnnnnnd Ghostbusters–and a larger percentage of women seem to find the trailers ok to amazing.

  2. […] This has naturally furthered a division. You have the black community on one end with liberal progressives alongside them and then on the other, you have, well, racists and the people who just don’t get it. The ironic thing is, actual genuine racists make up less than 5% of that branch. It’s really just a bunch of white people who are feeling personally attacked, don’t know how to express themselves, and are afraid of being wrong or having their feelings invalidated. Kind of like those who just didn’t find the Ghostbusters (2016) trailers funny and wound up getting lumped in with trolling, misogynistic YouTube commenters. Except, unlike those rebelling against those who are fed up with the police, the anti-Ghostbusters group has a leg to stand on. […]

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