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Sorry, manbabies, the real problem with the Ghostbusters reboot isn’t misandry but racism

Oh, wait, wrong ghost movie
Oh, wait, wrong ghost movie

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Today will go down in history as a dark day for manbabykind. For today, the lady Ghostbusters trailer dropped. And there was much wailing and tweeting of tweets.

Let’s take a stroll amongst the wailing manbabies on Twitter, indulging their ridiculous rants.

And then let’s talk about what’s really wrong with the Ghostbusters trailer, which has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with race.

First, the manbabies:

There were those who pulled out the old “my childhood has been raped” nonsense.

https://twitter.com/M_Stewarr/status/705445173568868352

There were those who strenuously insisted that their anger at the female Ghostbusters had nothing whatsoever to do with misogyny, nuh-uh, but was rather a reaction to the trailer’s objective terribleness.

https://twitter.com/katmereMUFC/status/705463502278959108

There were the fat-shamers, because at no point in history has a fat person ever been funny.

https://twitter.com/NerdzurK1/status/705500568035397636

There were Trump fans:

https://twitter.com/easternmney/status/705506566758383618

https://twitter.com/jaesex23/status/705499814415486977

Hell, there were so many Trump fans that one observer made a helpful Venn diagram:

There were even a few Knights Who Say Cuck:

https://twitter.com/kcD___/status/705472132185202688

Some raised the specter of WHITE GENOCIDE:

https://twitter.com/TheSamGrady/status/705434158152224772

https://twitter.com/TheSamGrady/status/705496761662578689

Some worried where the evil feminazis would strike next:

Others offered somewhat less comprehensible critiques:

One Tweeter summed up the day on Twitter with a little haiku:

https://twitter.com/luketunderwood/status/705500826580594688

And another Tweeter left us with this existential question:

https://twitter.com/cleotrav/status/705505847129022464

Still another raised the possibility of a second reboot with a rather different cast:

And this guy helped us put it all in perspective:

https://twitter.com/GregorySantos/status/705462910714183680

So what happens once we step back from all the manbaby whining, and the jokes about the manbaby whining. and actually watch the trailer? Well, be my guest:

I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit underwhelmed.

There are a few funny moments, but the trailer sort of steps on them. It’s hard to tell if this is a terrible trailer for a good film, or if the Ghostbusters reboot will end up being, well, basically a female version of Adam Sandler’s godwful Pixels.

But the really distressing thing that the trailer reveals is that the three white gals in the movie are the scientists, while Leslie Jones’ Patty is relegated — or so it seems from the trailer — to the tired, stereotypical role of sassy black sidekick who may not be educated but who “knows the streets.”

This racial/racist failure has not exactly gone unnoticed; it’s already inspired thinkpieces and polemics on sites ranging from The Root to The Inquisitr, as well as in innumerable Tweets.

The original Ghostbusters, however hallowed it has become, was infamous for a similar racial failure. That movie’s “black ghostbuster,” played by Ernie Hudson, was so forgettable, and so obviously a token, that the designer simply left him off of this recently reworked Ghostbusters poster featuring his three white comrades.

Despite all the complaints by angry manbabies about the gender-swap of the main characters, it may well turn out that the real problem with the film isn’t that it’s too radically different from the original, but rather that it is too similar — at least in its inability to imagine a black character as more than a token or a stereotype.

The one thing that gives me some hope is Jones herself, an amazing comedian who may have been able to transform her character into something more nuanced and less stereotypical than what we see in the trailer.

I guess we’ll see.

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guy
guy
4 years ago

Well Feig already said it was because he enjoyed working with these actors. If a director cast a bunch of dudes (s)he found funny and liked to work with, no one would bat an eye, but cast funny women and suddenly the only possible reason anyone can think of is that they are pandering.

The way that story has traditionally gone with women in Hollywood is that the studio executives tell the director to make at least one main character a man to sell more tickets. I am very dubious that there’s been a major change in their motivations rather than their methods.

mockingbird
mockingbird
4 years ago

One of the recuts:

https://youtu.be/8IDXpOX0Cp0

@Naodi –

I’ll defend the little murder bears to the death. I love them.

<3

No one ever asks where they got a dress that fit Leia…

katz
4 years ago

What I think everyone has forgotten is that the original Ghostbusters was not all that great of a movie. Yes, it had its funny moments and that fucking song was endlessly played, but in the end, GIGO.

Yeah, for me it’s firmly in the “entertaining when I was a kid but totally doesn’t hold up” camp. Ha ha, people covered in slime! Nickelodeon levels of humor!

Arkle
4 years ago

Before I get into my main point, let me just say I also have concerns about the portrayal of the one Black character in the new movie.

That said, it never bothered me that Winston was the non-scientist in the original. I know that one way to look at that is “oh, of course the Black guy is dumber than the three white guys.” On the other hand though, being the layman of the group allowed him to fill the role of audience surrogate, asking the questions that people in the audience might have, allowing them to be answered without a clumsy exposition dump.

And let’s face it, apart from Winston, how often has the audience surrogate character, the everyman if you will, been a person of color? Doesn’t happen very often.

CriticalDragon1177
4 years ago

David Futrelle,

Off course the MRA losers are not going to care about racism. They’re too busy whining about the non existent oppression of men by the non existent matriarchy.

peaches
peaches
4 years ago

@sevenofmine

Like Nick, I was responding to the idea that Winston was a token. I have never seen his character that way. He was a needed balance to the other characters, and he was still funny.

But I also tried (probably did not succeed) in say that Winston was good character 30+ years ago, and there should be some progress on that front.

Graham
Graham
4 years ago

Lol critical dragon, its almost as if those MRA “losers” realised the best way to tackle thier real problems where to adopt the tactics of sad feminist fembabies.

Kreator
Kreator
4 years ago

What I think everyone has forgotten is that the original Ghostbusters was not all that great of a movie. Yes, it had its funny moments and that fucking song was endlessly played, but in the end, GIGO.

Yeah, for me it’s firmly in the “entertaining when I was a kid but totally doesn’t hold up” camp. Ha ha, people covered in slime! Nickelodeon levels of humor!

Opinions, opinions. /opinion

katz
4 years ago

A character can perfectly well be the everyman audience surrogate and also a scientist, though. You just make him/her the “new kid” straight out of school who’s really smart but has never experienced any of this in real life.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his, she/her pronouns)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his, she/her pronouns)
4 years ago

That said, it never bothered me that Winston was the non-scientist in the original. I know that one way to look at that is “oh, of course the Black guy is dumber than the three white guys.” On the other hand though, being the layman of the group allowed him to fill the role of audience surrogate, asking the questions that people in the audience might have, allowing them to be answered without a clumsy exposition dump.

That’s true, but audience surrogate characters are usually the main character as well. Bill Murray’s character was more on center stage in the movies than Winston.

dlouwe
dlouwe
4 years ago

This comment section is a perfect example of how to critique a movie with an all-female cast without coming off as sexist. Honestly, it’s not that hard!

“I think this trailer looks awful” – great!
“Not to be sexist or anything, but this trailer looks awful” – hmmmmmmmmm

Sue
Sue
4 years ago

Like the majestic groundhog being frightened by its own shadow to predict the turn of winter. MRAs collectively soiling themselves over social media over movies tend to predict their success in the box office and ensure critical acclaim i.e. Fury Road, Force Awakens, etc.

lkeke35
lkeke35
4 years ago

I really want to like this movie, but like most trailers for today’s movies, it makes me NOT want to see it, even though I was highly enthusiast about it.

I’m going to wait for more trailers to decide if the movie is any good but the trailer has already been successful in helping me decide if I want to spend money to see it.

Brony, Social Justice Cenobite

I was wondering if my comment on page one was unknowingly insensitive.

While a sex and/or gender flipped version of Porky’s would be funny (trigger warnings for misogyny and sexism were probably a good idea), I realized it might also be a problem for similar reasons outside of a carefully made satire or other cultural criticism. I thought I would ask just in case.

Otherwise there are tons on things in the horror genera which would be interesting with sex/gender flips.

Re: Conflict around strong words like rape.
I’m not surprised to see the massive use of the word rape in contexts that have nothing to do with rape. While I do believe that they are feeling a social violation, authoritarians do have an instinct to take symbols that they fear and try to remove and avoid their power in social conflicts. Whatever the real violation is they are unable or unwilling to actually express it clearly.

So a person that fears the word rape will use it on as many non-rape things as they can where someone who feared rape would use the word for rape. That way the meaning of the word is functionally diluted in society and conveniently many of them don’t notice (or avoid noticing) that “rape can mean anything” comes from rapists, rape enablers and social cowards too terrified to deal with the concept. I have yet to get any of them to show me a feminist that was using rape in such a way.

A similar game is played with sexist, racist and the term “social justice warrior” itself is functionally a dilution of the meaning and importance of social justice because it’s specific definition matches the people using it as an insulting characterization, while the term itself taken literally applies to anyone struggling for social justice.

These people only have strength in packs.

Valentine
Valentine
4 years ago

@alan
No I’ve not seen doomsday but I’ll check it out!

Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ valentine

You’re in for a treat. It’s by the guy who did Dog Soldiers. After he’d had some other successes his backers gave him some money and said ‘make any film you want’. He took that as license to (happily and very admittedly) plagiarise all his favourite 80s action movies. One bit is basically ‘Aliens’ but with Glaswegians.

Rhonda Mitra is just amazing in it.

fridayjones
fridayjones
4 years ago

I laughed out loud when Jones literally smacked the possessing spirit right out of McCarthy. “The power of pain compels you” indeed.

WeirwoodTreeHugger
WeirwoodTreeHugger
4 years ago

I don’t know why I haven’t seen Doomsday yet. The Descent is one of my favorite horror movies, I liked Dog Soldiers and Centurion, and I loved Neil Marshall’s Game of Thrones episodes.

Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ WWTH

I’d be really interested in your opinion of Doomsday. I have a lot of female friends who are really into their fighting. They say that it’s almost unique as a film in having a resourceful female protagonists who isn’t just doing high karate kicks so you can see her pants.

ETA: it also doesn’t have that annoying thing where a woman spends the first two thirds of the film kicking ass; but then for some reason when she’s rescued by the man in the last act she forgets all that and has to swoon whilst he takes care of the bad guys.

CriticalDragon1177
4 years ago
Reply to  Graham

Lol critical dragon, its almost as if those MRA “losers” realised the best way to tackle thier real problems where to adopt the tactics of sad feminist fembabies.

No you got it backwards, the “Men’s Rights Activists” are the real losers.

“Flat Earth” more popular than MRA, MGTOW and PUA combined, Google Trends suggests
https://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2016/02/28/flat-earth-more-popular-than-mra-mgtow-and-pua-combined-google-trends-suggests/

Also if our society was a Matriarchy, like ever, why is it that men held most of the positions of power throughout our history? And oh yeah, why was it that women had to fight for their right to vote. Its the problems that the MRAs whines about that aren’t real.

Tyler
Tyler
4 years ago

Forgive me if I come across as a bit snippy, but the word “pandering” has really lost its meaning from being abused by GooberGobbers and other manospherians who believe that anything that isn’t “cishet white male protagonist” (in other words, anything that panders directly to them) is “pandering” and is therefore bad.

So, who is this “pandering” to, might I ask?

You’re right, you do come off as snippy. Also, it was a mistake, I meant to say that I can see why it come off as a tiny bit pandery to some people, but to be fair it was kinda late at night and I didn’t really pay attention when leaving that comment. I myself have no opinion on them being female.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
4 years ago

I don’t really have anything intelligent to contribute, other than a fervent desire for a female Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Additional sad peepeefeefee head explosions will make the movie seem that much more realistic in the theater.

Mish
Mish
4 years ago

@Leah3 – I love your idea for the SNL skit 🙂

@NickNameNick – take good care of yourself.

@mockingbird – fantastic pic of Death (including the wee Death of Rats, the only one that he let stay. How could you say no?)

@guy – I’ve been following the Ghost in the Shell news with interest. I think Scarlett Johansson would make a fine Kusanagi. Agree that there’s no good reason not to have most of the characters played by Japanese actors, though, including the Laughing Man. They’d better not do it with Togusa!!!!
Re Aramaki, I see him a bit differently; he’s like an extremely powerful background presence and influence (with adorable cotton wool hair). Marginalisation is a possibility, though, yes. Hope not.
Live-action remakes of anime series don’t have the most successful history, generally speaking, and the sheer quality of GITS piles on the pressure. On a slightly silly level, I do hope that Kusanagi wears pants for most of the movie 🙂

proudfootz
proudfootz
4 years ago

Now I really want to be sure to see this in a theater because 1) it looks fun and 2) creepy people don’t want me to see it.

The recut fan teaser was well done!

weirwoodtreehugger
4 years ago

I don’t really have anything intelligent to contribute, other than a fervent desire for a female Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Oh noes! Anything but more fat chicks!

I’d be really interested in your opinion of Doomsday.

I’ll see if I can track it down. I just started the new season of House of Cards though. So it could take a few days.

Lol critical dragon, its almost as if those MRA “losers” realised the best way to tackle thier real problems where to adopt the tactics of sad feminist fembabies.

So, you’re saying female Ghostbusters are a real men’s rights problem? But it’s the feminists who are whiny babies? Seems legit.

And what’s an lol critical dragon? Did I miss the latest trend in memes? Are lol dragons the new lol cats?

kupo
kupo
4 years ago

You’re right, you do come off as snippy. Also, it was a mistake, I meant to say that I can see why it come off as a tiny bit pandery to some people, but to be fair it was kinda late at night and I didn’t really pay attention when leaving that comment. I myself have no opinion on them being female.

I don’t think she does, actually. And even if she does, is that a problem? Should women be more gentle to you, would that make you feel better?

guy
guy
4 years ago

@Mish
Well, really Aramaki is in the classic police department chief role, though more of his bureaucratic work is on screen. Except for that one time in Britain, his role in the actual doing of things is mostly telling them to focus on investigating something, telling them how much they’re authorized to do at the moment, talking to other departments and the prime minister to convince them to authorize Section 9 to do more things, and showing up to tell high officials they’re under arrest and their connections cannot help them.

Don’t get me wrong; he’s a great character and I like all his scenes, but in terms of overall plot structure his role is a bit part in many police series. If I were told that the runtime needed to be drastically shortened, I would be highly inclined to start by trimming his role to just the parts where he’s talking to Kusunagi; they’re certainly good scenes but the rest of the plot mostly advances when he calls to tell her that he’s managed to get the authorization/information they needed. It’s important to the story that he exists and his scenes happen, mostly not so important that we see them.

And yeah, Togusa is pretty much unmodified and as such should definitely have a Japanese actor, especially since they’ve already got an established celebrity for their lead role. My previous leniency was mostly on the grounds that they’re taking a risk with the movie and have good reason to want someone very famous headlining, and at the moment that means someone white and they aren’t going to change that by casting a Japanese lead in a movie that doesn’t sell well. Still, I’d been hoping that they’d take the opportunity to fill out the rest of the cast with Japanese actors.

I’m mostly just annoyed by the people who claim having a white actress play someone named Motoko Kusunagi strains credulity; she’s like 3% biological by mass and her skin tone is an entirely arbitrary decision. SAC’s CGI opening does indicate that her prosthetic body happens to look Asian, but it could just as easily not have. This is entirely a real-world actor opportunity issue and trying to criticize it on in-universe plausibility grounds just makes it look like the writer hasn’t watched the show.

Pants forecast is mixed. At least some skintight full-body suit scenes are basically guaranteed, but Arise and the most recent movie at least had reasonable casual-wear.

Catalpa
Catalpa
4 years ago

I, personally, would love to see an all female cast of Grease. Lady greasers, the lovely Pink Ladies, and even lady Scorpions! It would be fantastic. The romance between Sandy and Dani would be adorable.

Just cut out the ‘did she put up a fight’ line from the song please.

Hollywood execs, please take notes.

Tragedy of the Commas
Tragedy of the Commas
4 years ago

Here’s some interesting fan speculation about the new Ghostbusters movie: the possibility of a gay romance between two of the four leads.

Is There A Lesbian Ghostbuster In The New Film? We Hope So!

and

Ghostbusters Trailer Sparks Hope for Long-Overdue Gay Blockbuster Couple“:

It’s wishful thinking, but it’s a wish that’s long overdue for fulfillment—and one that Hollywood, as its audiences grow increasingly progressive, may be ready to fulfill at last.

Robjec
Robjec
4 years ago

About the ghost in the Shell discussion I just want to add that while the major always got the same body type this was considered weird and the main protect guy (I Forget his name right now, he served in the special forces beforehand) even commented that it was normal to completely change body types every few years of you could afford to or worked undercover like them, so changing race and build for the more prosthetic characters makes since in universe.

Josh
Josh
4 years ago

On Ghost in the Shell

To me, honestly, it’s just more white washing. They’ve been doing it forever and they’re gonna keep on doing it.

guy
guy
4 years ago

There’s a couple things that make me lenient here. First, in isolation from the larger trends it’s an excellent casting choice. Obviously the larger trends exist. But second, financially the film is on thin ice and there just isn’t an Asian actress in the US as famous as Scarlett Johansson and the filmmakers really need someone that famous to help sell tickets; it’s no Star Wars and can’t count on high sales with someone talented but unknown in the lead role. Realistically, if they tried to break the trend odds are very good they’d just reinforce it; accepted wisdom is that films with minority leads don’t sell and a film with a minority lead that doesn’t sell won’t challenge that.

That said, I was hoping that they’d fill most of the other major roles with Japanese actors; careers have to start somewhere and with their major celebrity slot filled they had an opportunity to give people fairly prominent roles in the ensemble cast to hopefully start them on the path to lead roles of their own in the future so that eventually when an adaption asks if there’s an Asian actor famous enough to sell their niche movie, the answer will be yes. Togusa would make a pretty good launchpad role, for instance. He could very easily be the main character if the story were framed differently.

Josh
Josh
4 years ago

I, admittedly much more cynically, just see it as the end result of the larger trend.

guy
guy
4 years ago

Yeah it totally is the end result of the larger trend. But matters stand as they are. The only thing they can realistically do to combat the trend in their position is to give remaining major roles to Asian actors so they’ll have a chance at building careers. Their casting of The Laughing Man is not a good sign but there’s still plenty of Section 9 left to go.

Basically, imagine hypothetical futures where someone is pitching a Fate/Stay Night adaption and suggests putting an Asian actor in for Shirou and for other characters as appropriate (about half the characters are actually European)

Hypothetical 1: “That didn’t exactly work out for Ghost In The Shell. Let’s get [white movie star] instead”
Hypothetical 2: “Fetch me the man who played Togusa!”

Josh
Josh
4 years ago

I guess? Honestly, I don’t think it will change anything. According to a lot actors, oppertunities for PoC are shrinking more and more. Hence the Oscars so White controversy. The only way things are going to change is if people stop accepting the white washing on a larger scale. Sadly, until then I don’t see even filling out the cast with actual Asians doing jack all for Asian actors. it’s just too rigged against them in the first place.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
4 years ago

@guy

We live in a world where Shredder was once lined up to be played by the whitest guy Michael Bay could find. It’s fine to enjoy problematic things, but don’t whitewash the whitewashing.

Fabe
Fabe
4 years ago

On the subject of the Hollywood Ghost ijn the Shell movie that I don’t think any one brought it up yet ; it looks like Daisuke Aramaki will be played by a Japanese actor named Beat Takeshi

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2016-03-03/beat-takeshi-joins-live-action-ghost-in-the-shell-film-as-daisuke-aramaki/.99347

At least its not going to be a total whitewash,we’ll have to see who else they’re casting

kupo
kupo
4 years ago

@Tragedy of the Commas
Actually I wouldn’t be too surprised. I got a bit of a vibe that two of the women in Spy had a bit of a romantic spark at the end. But that could just be me. I did not get an impression of a romantic spark between Poe and Finn, so I think maybe I interpret these things differently than others.

guy
guy
4 years ago

Yeah, mentioned that. Not overly convinced because it’s a role likely to be trimmed for adaption. I’m mostly waiting on Togusa.

Mish
Mish
4 years ago

@Robjec, the Major’s decision to stick with the one body type has always intrigued me; it’s one part of that whole GITS theme about body/mind/soul and their connections that’s just fascinating. And that’s without even bringing sexuality into the mix! (I haven’t read much of the manga, but it explores this in more detail).

@guy & Josh, I think you’re both right. I like the choice of Beat Takeshi for Aramaki; now please please please pick a good Togusa, people (not that he’s one of my favourite characters or anything …)

ETA there’s some really interesting discussion around the whitewashing problem in the comments section over at Kotaku
http://kotaku.com/hollywood-ghost-in-the-shell-movie-finally-gets-a-japan-1762583224

guy
guy
4 years ago

I think the implication with her using the one is that it’s just what she’s used to; when we see her pull old ones out of storage they’re just smaller versions, and in the 2nd gig flashback to her in the hospital we see that her very first one was in the same style. Presumably she didn’t request it because her injuries precluded speaking, but now it’s been her body since she was five. Might also be intentionally retaining a link to normal human experience; she sometimes feels disconnected from other people and artificially imitating growing up naturally is a way to share at least some common experience, and I suspect the doctors originally insisted on it. People who are more cavalier about it probably at least remember when they could taste food.

nparker
nparker
4 years ago

I’d disagree about Winston- he’s surely the most relatable, ‘real life’ character in the original film, and I’d say he’s very memorable.

I’m hoping the new film doesn’t treat the one black cast member as the token ‘sassy black character’ as it were- that’ll really annoy me- but we shall see (I’m excited to see it at any rate.)

Mish
Mish
4 years ago
Reply to  guy

@guy, yes, could be. I find it interesting precisely because it’s referred to every now and then but never fully explained, so one is free to speculate. Like the scene when Batou asks about her watch, which was a gift to her (from someone) when she took on her final adult version body. She’s very unsentimental in many ways, so hints of something else are intriguing.
I’m aware that I’m getting way off the actual post topic here, though – I could go on and on about this for HOURS – so prob. should stop 🙂

Robjec
Robjec
4 years ago

@Mish
I know the show never explained why the major never changed bodies but I’m not sure about the manga. I think it’s just how she viewed herself though, since she always kept the same body in cyberspace too, and was her way of holding on to her humanity.

DodoHunter
DodoHunter
4 years ago

On movie news that makes me happy, it looks like Gods of Egypt will likely be a tremendous flop.

Skiriki
Skiriki
4 years ago

DodoHunter: I trust you’ve seen this review of it? http://io9.gizmodo.com/murder-is-legal-and-torture-is-mandatory-because-gods-1761496886

Snarky. Sarcasm-y. Just like I enjoy ’em. 😀

DodoHunter
DodoHunter
4 years ago

Nope, I just saw news of it only making 12 million back on its opening weekend. That is welcome though. I have never hated a movie this much without seeing it. Whitewashing and fucking with mythology–two of my least favorite movie trends.

Skiriki
Skiriki
4 years ago

DodoHunter: Totally read the review, though… otherwise the mythocalypse may claim you too. 😀

tricyclist
tricyclist
4 years ago

Unfortunately I am conflicted about this movie – regardless of its actual merits as a movie.

On the one hand I want to go see it because… well… manbabies.

On the other hand I don’t because some of my money will go to Sony and I have sworn off everything Sony because #freekesha

However, since the imperative to support a real woman battling a real rapist outdoes my need to stick it to the (albeit real) manbabies – it seems I’ll not be able to go see.

17R3W
17R3W
4 years ago

Almost every sci-fi movie needs a “fish out of water” character for the audience to relate too. Guess what, most of the movies audience won’t be scientists either, we need a person to guide us through the world.