I finally know what it feels like to be a man. Specifically, I know what it feels like to be a man watching superhero movies, or Bond, or Star Trek, or pretty much any fucking movie ever. I’ve seen the new Ghostbusters, and I swaggered out of that cinema feeling like I could punch a lion in the throat.
Is this it? Is this how it feels to watch representations of yourself kick several shades of ass on the big screen? And if so: how has it taken this long? Do you know how cheated I feel that I had to wait until I was thirty-bastard-eight years old before this happened? And how many levels of angry I am with all the whiny manbabies who hate the concept of a female Ghostbusters? I mean, I was angry with them before. But now I’ve seen it, and now I know how great it made me feel, I’m beyond furious.
It is, of course, de rigeur to acknowledge that the new Ghostbusters isn’t perfect. (It’s a summer blockbuster. Few of them are. Deal with it.) But it’s still fucking great. I have friends who don’t like Lost in Translation – friendships that are clearly solid, since I’m prepared to overlook their terrible opinions – because they say nothing happens. They’re right, but Lost in Translation is one of my favourite films because of how it makes me feel. That floaty, ethereal sensation when the drums of The Jesus and Mary Chain kick in over Bill Murray’s face. That’s what’s important.
Similarly, as I walked out of Greenwich Picturehouse on Monday afternoon, I felt amazing. I grinned for the rest of the day. I got home, I danced in the kitchen to the opening music of Channel 4 News. I ain’t afraid of no ghost.
What makes the whole experience even more delicious is that, of all the films the sexist backlash could have happened to, it’s Ghostbusters. If you haven’t seen it yet, know that the whole film is underpinned by the kind of shit women deal with every day. The bad guy is a study in white, male, middle class privilege – oh no, people don’t like him, so he’s going to take out a whole city.
Compare that to Kristen Wiig’s character’s boss making her jump through more hoops than is reasonable before implying she’ll never get her clothing right, and her just taking it because it’s normal. The guy at the science ‘institute’ firing and insulting the team. Andy Garcia’s mayor patronising the crap out of them. Chris Hemsworth taking credit for the Ghostbusters’ work. In fact, I think the only men who are polite to these four women in the whole film may be Ed Begley Jr and Zach Woods (otherwise known as the dweeby American staffer from In The Loop).
In this context, the Bill Murray scene is perfect. I’ve seen criticisms that it’s not funny. I think it’s hilarious. Murray embodies every man who’s ever belittled a woman’s work, told her she’s getting emotional when she’s just asking a straight question, not believed her or ignored her. I have been Erin. I have wanted to prove myself to these total douchebags, because just once I want them to understand what douchebags they’re being. And his douchebaggery – spoiler alert – gets him thrown out of a window.
Manbabies, you might not have found that funny because there weren’t any obvious gags in it. But believe me, it is sidesplitting.
There are all kinds of experience, and there is room for them all. I, as a middle class white woman, fucking loved Ghostbusters because they are my avatars. (Especially Kate McKinnon. God, how I love Kate McKinnon.) Guys have their avatars all over the place. And yet some of them couldn’t find the room to give me one. One. Screw you guys.
It’s like gay marriage. Gay people getting married doesn’t take away from straight marriage. There’s plenty of marriage to go around. This summer, guys get Jason Bourne, a new X-Men, Suicide Squad, Independence Day, Tarzan, Star Trek. You’ve already had Captain America and Batman vs Superman. All male-dominated. Women got one. Again: ONE. Tell me how a female Ghostbusters affected your lives again?
Maybe I can see why, if watching someone who looks like you do kickass action scenes gets you as pumped as Ghostbusters did to me. Maybe these insecure ‘men’ like their women submissive and compliant, and the idea that we bitches be hunting ghosts is too hard for them to handle. Poor them; it must be dreadful to have their self worth so delicately invested in some dudes in jumpsuits that they can’t handle sharing those jumpsuits around.
I’m really regretting not managing to see Star Wars: Episode VII now. Hand me that lightsaber.