At this point in pop culture, the new Ghostbusters is inseparable from the controversy surrounding misogyny. It's why so many articles have been written, why so many reviews at least acknowledge the existence of the controversy. At this point, if a review doesn't at least explore a bit of the sociological response to the film, it would seem intentionally removed from the rest of us.
There was a definite backlash against the film when it was first announced, even BEFORE the trailer aired. I mention in the podcast this week that even I had the initial thought, "oh god, they're making them women."
And you know what? I'm ashamed of that. It's embarrassing that it was the initial thought I had but also that it was an actual thought that sat there, swimming around in my head. There have been remakes before and although I'd always looked at the casting critically, I felt there was a deeper need to explore why I thought this way, initially, about Ghostbusters.
I think there's a part of everyone's identity that, when it feels threatened, tends to push back. Much in the same way that studies have shown that scientific evidence against ones point of view actually fortifies their position. I've always identified as a man and the Ghostbusters as men that a switch to all women seemed direct attack on men.
That's a fallacy though. It's men getting defensive when there's nothing to get defensive about.
After the initial thought, I recognized my shortfall. It's a process of breaking the mold of the pressures and ideas I've grown up surrounded by. Some men refuse to acknowledge that sexism or misogyny is a thing. They say, "I'm not sexist, I don't see things like that". The risk in that is: some people DO see things like that. These feelings are a smaller portion of a greater mindset. In order to grow with each other, we need to acknowledge that sexism exists and acknowledge thoughts and feelings beyond our developed worldview.
I'm not proud of my initial and altogether fleeting reaction, but I know it's an aspect of my life that I need to actively work on. I've joined the local Lean In chapter, founded by Sheryl Sandberg of Google, to improve how I communicate and become an ally against sexism and misogyny.
The movie, as I think about it, gets better and better and I'm glad I was able to expose my son to a new generation of Ghostbusters!