Progressive feminist ideology tanks movie or was it the sexism and racism?

New Ghostbusters movie

New Ghostbusters movie

Both my children are eagerly looking forward to the new Ghostbusters movie.  I really enjoyed the original so went on to YouTube to look at the trailer. One of the main characters is an actress I really like, Melissa McCarthy so I had high hopes that it would be good.



What I soon discovered was that this movie trailer was incredibly unpopular. I have never seen so many dislikes before.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 8.45.24 AM

The comment section also revealed the controversy swirling around the movie. I did some research and discovered that this movie has simultaneously been accused of  sexism and racism at the same time as being accused of being a vehicle for progressive values and feminism. Essentially this movie has the exact same characters it had originally, the only change being that they are now all female caricatures of the originals.

Progressives and feminists have defended the movie and have labelled anyone who has made negative comments about it, misogynistic and sexist.

While it may be true that some lovers of the original are not happy seeing an all-female cast and that may be based to some degree on sexism, it is also true that the sexism and racism of the original movie is also in the new one.

When I watched the original Ghostbusters I didn’t notice sexism or racism but now that the complaints are rolling in about the remake here is the case for the prosecution.

Case for the prosecution:

..Others look to dismiss the female cast as some sort of reverse-sexism, a “marketing gimmick” that diminishes the stars by turning them into tokens. “What offends me about this film isn’t that there’s women in it. Or even that the women are the protagonists. It’s that it’s going backwards 30 years in time and calling itself progressive,” one Cinemassacre commenter wrote. “I think the biggest reason this film will suck is they tried to shoehorn in a PC ideology instead of just telling a good story,”

…I was anxious to see if it would soothe my uneasiness over the casting of three white female leads and one black woman as the sole representation of “diversity” among the eponymous heroes.

Unsurprisingly, the trailer eviscerated my oh-so-low expectations by sinking to the racist low of the 1984 original. Leslie Jones’s character, Patty Tolan, is presented in the film’s first trailer next to three “brilliant” white female scientists as the seemingly intellectually inferior token black woman with street sense and a Cadillac.

Perhaps it’s progress that Jones’s character is afforded the opportunity to be featured in film advertisements at all. In 1984, Ernie Hudson and his character, Winston Zeddemore – also the only team member who wasn’t an academic – was completely excluded from the trailer’s actor credits and character introductions.

…Hudson penned an editorial about his experience with the Ghostbusters franchise. He found himself being negotiated out of his deserved pay, his role later gutted, and was excluded from the marketing.

As a daddy’s girl, I often found myself snuggled up next to my father and laughing at the ridiculous high jinks of the original pair of movies. I had some hope that Columbia Pictures would bring us a reboot that I could enjoy now I’m aware of the racial issues at play. Instead, the studio squandered an opportunity to rebuild characters in a way that provides a more inclusive representation of women than its male-centred films.

With three leading female characters, the film features no Latina, Asian or Indigenous women and simply opts to fulfil its black quota as a nod to the original storyline. Jones’s sassy black character is a transit worker for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, providing her with the skills necessary to track down ghosts across New York. But as the only representation of race and class commentary in the trailer, it ultimately pathologises the working class and blackness by making the two synonymous with a seemingly inept character.

The trailer juxtaposes Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon as three experts in each of their scientific fields, then we cut to Jones. She enters with: “I’m here to join the club. You guys are really smart about this science stuff.” This limits her character to an academically aloof, street savvy black woman who is apparently only allowed in the crew (and in the film) because of her familiarity with New York City.
I wasn’t the only viewer to be offended by the characterisation of the sole black character in the trailer. Jones has since defended her role asking her critics: “Why can’t a regular person be a ghostbuster?” And she is right, a regular person should be able to be a member of the Ghostbusters team. But we have to ask why the only “regular” ghostbuster has to be black.


Personally I don’t think a movie (particularly a comedy) should be about spoon feeding us any kind of ideological message. When I watch this movie I will judge it on whether or not it makes me laugh. I will leave it to others to x-ray it for things that offend them.


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  • Oh Please

    It must be such a sad life being a ‘progressive’. They obviously have no sense of humour and are not allowed to enjoy themselves – ever.

  • MaryLou

    I just don’t see the POINT in recreating classic (yes I liked it that much!) differently from the original just to make a stand. If you want to make a movie with female heroes in the interest of advancing the wimmens movement, go for it. The mistake was in taking something people loved as it was and making it into something it isn’t. It’s just painful.

  • Christie

    I just did a bit of research on Ernie Hudson, and yes – apparently his character was completely changed in the second draft of the movie. But I don’t care. I loved him anyway. This is a movie – it is meant to be entertainment. There is no need for a quota for black, one legged unmarried mothers.

  • Dan

    By far the best feminising of a male role has to be Judy Dench’s portrayal of ‘M.’ At first I was horrified that a Bond movie would even consider having a female M, but Dench won me over. In fact, I see the original M as being a tad pathetic copared to the steely resolve of Ms M. (Or, according to Skyfall, was she the original M, hmmm.)

    The beauty of this switch was that it was not done out of PC-ness and so did not have the characteristics of being patronising (matronising?)

    Whether a all female Ghostbusters theme works, I will wait to judge. Like SB, if it makes me laugh, then it worked.

    • MaryLou

      Agreed re M. But I didn’t get the sense that it was a matter of feminising anything, she just made a great “M”. I can’t think of any female actor right now though, that I’d accept as Bond!

  • cows4me

    What an insecure bunch progressive feminists must be. This lot remind me of the academics/special interest groups that continually rewrite history to suit their narrative or political leaning. Yes I know it’s only a silly film but if these people want to make a statement would not it have being better to write one of their own. What’s done is done trying to hijack someone else story doesn’t really show much imagination or perhaps it highlights what progressive feminism is really about, very little.

  • Jman

    I don’t have a problem with an all-female cast for the Ghostbusters remake, if they do it right. From looking at the trailer they are getting it wrong in every possible way.

    As for this idea that a movie cast needs to have the right quota of blacks and that they need to be the positive characters I’m so over it. No wonder the movie industry is in such trouble.

  • phronesis

    I just hope I don’t live to see Maverick, Goose and Iceman reincarnated as a multiracial transgendered lesbian threesome.

    • waldopepper

      lol, thats gotta be comment of the day right there.

  • Kevin

    I have just one word to describe this abomination of a remake of a great film:


  • KatB

    These days I find it hard enough to find a movie that holds my interest, it must be damn near impossible if you’ve also got a whole lot of special interest groups you want to see represented in the movie. And I thought movies were for fun and time to escape the realities in life. Apparently not. Some people must be extremely busy poking into everybody else’s business making sure all the “ism’s” are not being violated.

  • Simon

    The new Mad Max has a female co-lead and a large female cast. Didn’t care in the least was a great movie and awesome characters. This one, of course haven’t seen it yet, but if the movie is good then who cares about the gender of the characters – if not though would having the characters be males make it any better? Can only wait n see I guess.

  • Misfit

    I found the new star wars to be much the same, PC driven to far from the original story into a cheap Feminized multi cultural franchise.

  • James M

    When I first learnt that the Ghost Busters reboot had an all female cast I was very disappointed. Not because they are female, but because it was so different to my expectation of what the new film would be.

    My expectation was something much closer to the traditional films. But alas Bill Murray wanted nothing to do with the film. Rick Moranis retired from film, and both Harold Ramis and the 80’s have died.

    My mood has changed toward this film since I swallowed that initial horse pill. Both Melissa McCarthy & Kristen Wiig are brilliant actresses. I have high hopes that these two make it something great.

  • Let me summarize:

    Rick Moranis, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and Dan Ackroyd. Four of the funniest people to ever walk the planet
    Four ladies from Saturday Night Live of which you only recognize two names.

    Forget how PC the movie will be. There was never any possible contest between the them.

  • waldopepper

    the trouble is that this is a political statement, not a movie. people head along to the cinema to be entertained, not rallied. in fact i think most people are fed up with being told what to think. we seem to have arrived at a point where rather than movies giving us a good entertaining story with characters relevant to that story, we instead have characters of every persuasion and volume so that they match the local census figures and no group is left out. this movie is expected to tank big time due to this fact, and one other. it just isnt funny.

  • Old Dig

    I just hate this film because it didn’t need to be made. The original Ghostbusters is already a perfect movie. I’m tired of Hollywood ruining classic movie franchises with unnecessary remakes and pointless sequels. Hollywood needs to get some new ideas.