Representation And Why 'Ghostbusters' 2016 Matters
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Representation And Why 'Ghostbusters' 2016 Matters

It doesn't matter whether the movie is good or not.

Representation And Why 'Ghostbusters' 2016 Matters

Recently, a lot of controversy has surrounded the 2016 reboot of the popular science-fiction film, "Ghostbusters". The new film stars a brand new cast consisting of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. On the surface, the key to this controversy is wrapped around the new cast: a group of women. The operative phrase being “on the surface.”

Critics and fans alike are split on whether or not the reboot is going to be enjoyable or not; the majority seem to have more negative expectations. It seems that the most altering aspect of the film is the gender of the main cast. Large groups are claiming that the film is seen as negatively as it is because of an underlying displeasure with the cast being female. Viewers who do, in fact, assume the worst of this movie are claiming otherwise. Those same viewers, often fans of the franchise, are claiming that the movie does not seem worthwhile because of the content of the available trailers (released as of May, 2016).

An example of the side opposing the "Ghostbusters" 2016 film is online celebrity James Rolfe, known for his film and videogame reviews. He recently uploaded a video where he breaks down his reasons for not seeing the movie. In short, he believes the new movie does not do the franchise justice by not being in the spirit of the original "Ghostbusters" film. Rolfe represents a tamer minority that are not looking forward to the film. If you were to scroll down to the comment section of any trailer video for "Ghostbusters" 2016, you would be bombarded by a series of accounts claiming the movie will be less than ideal because of the female cast. Stephanie Merry of The Washington Postgoes into more detail as to why the cynicism is linked to sexism.

The intriguing thing about this controversy is that the film has not been released yet. All of the strong opinions one way or the other that surround "Ghostbusters" 2016 are formed based on a few trailers. The reason such strong opinions are being formed, despite what side of the spectral fence you sit on, is because a social issue in media is being brought further into the light: representation.

As a child, specifically a child of some kind of minority, seeing a person on television or in a movie that looks the same as you is important for self-confidence. The more important the role, the bigger the role model for a little girl. Knowing that a woman, just like that little girl, can be successful and funny makes the growing girl that much more motivated to be just like their role model. Pretend a child has a favorite television show, and the most important woman in the show can only rise to a supporting role. That little girl will subconsciously think that that is the highest role she can surmount to. The more women in positive, powerful positions, the more likely a little girl is to find a woman to model herself after. At its core, this is why the representation of minorities is so important in television and film.

In the past few years, as social justice activism has become more vocal, more folks are becoming aware of the issue of representation in media. As far as protagonists in film and television go, the vast majority have been Caucasian men. The majority of media consumers assume this as the norm. So when a movie comes along with a cast devoid of any Caucasian males, the accustomed masses get a little rowdy. As the surge of social justice activism became more apparent, more and more people began to label social justice activism as irrelevant and extreme. For those dismissive few, having more women in central roles is just more feminist nonsense. The side advocating more representation is enraged by the dismissiveness of their problems, fueling the other side’s argument.

As the cycle repeats, the reboot of a science-fiction film warps into being a talking point for social justice. Regardless of whether or not you will go out to a theater to indulge in a little female-centric science fiction, be aware of the importance of this film for women. Whether the film is “good” or not is irrelevant, as its purpose is bigger than entertainment.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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