From the moment it was announced that Ghostbusters would be rebooted with an all-female cast, it has been skewered. The first trailer is closing in on one million dislikes on YouTube, by far the most of any movie ever. It hasn’t even been released yet, and the stars and director are all bona fide comedy pros, so why all the hatred? The prevailing theory is that this is peak backlash against women by the angry men of the Internet. The producer of Ghostbusters, Ivan Reitman, who produced and directed the original films, doesn’t necessarily agree.
In an interview with Mashable, Reitman says, “I think there’s way too much talk about gender. I think that many of the people who were complaining were actually lovers of the [first] movie, not haters of women.”
He went on to say that he understands that kind of backlash: “I think the lovers of the [original] movie felt there was some kind of sacrilege to redo it, because it was a seminal part of their moviegoing experience as a 7- or 8-year-old. That’s something that can’t be minimized, and I totally respect that love.”
Nostalgia is surely a reason for the backlash, but that brushes aside the fact that audiences are used to reboots by now. Name a franchise, and it’s probably been rebooted or soon will be. The fact is that the principal feature of this reboot is its all-female stars.
Take a stroll through the comment section of any Ghostbusters-related video or story item, and you’ll see unabashed sexism. Commenters refer to the cast as “feminazis” or claim “Women aren’t funny.” They’ll hide behind comments claiming they’re just criticizing the film, and that their opinions have nothing to do with misogyny. Their protests would be more believable if they had seen the movie — but it hasn’t been released yet!
There is systemic, rampant sexism in our culture. Ignoring it only makes the problem worse. So yes, Reitman isn’t wrong, nostalgia is to blame for some of the Ghostbusters hate. The first trailer is to blame. Hollywood’s constant recycling of old properties is to blame. But the Internet’s treatment of women in general is part of the problem too, and it shouldn’t be ignored.
Illeana Douglas on Robert De Niro and How ‘Art’ Doesn’t ‘Exist’ in Hollywood Anymore: