Who ya gonna call?

Who ya gonna call?

Guess who wants to talk about movies and media again.

I know I talk about this kind of a lot but my world is media. A lot of people’s world is media! We, as a culture, internalize and express ourselves through media. Therefore it is worthy of our attention and reflection and dissection.

Today’s subject: Ghostbusters (2016)

I know how a lot of people feel about remakes. And I know why! There are a few things everyone is mostly in agreement on when it comes to remakes.

  • It’s never going to live up to the original.
  • It’s just a cash grab.
  • Is Hollywood running out of ideas?
  • This is the end of culture.

And those points are fair based on the history of remakes we’ve seen in Hollywood. They’re boring, not as good as the originals, wastes of time and money. But there are ways to do film remakes without falling into this pit.

What do a lot of remakes have in common? Ignoring Spider-Man (whose main issue is that studios can’t decide who even owns him as a character), films are generally remade because technology allows for better graphics, right? So the same story is re-hashed with similar actors and a similar premise, just with CGI.

When movies are remade just because modern technology allows for more fancy on-screen tricks, the audience is left feeling disappointed. There was nothing of the film to compel them to invest themselves in it. They don’t care how realistic an explosion looked or how well that CGI character interacted with live actors. Have you seen Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Literally no movie will ever surpass the brilliance.

So if you want to remake a movie: you’ve got to make it relevant. Make it different. Make people care.

Some attempts have been made recently in this regard: Marvel superheroes have had people of color take up the title in comics, there have been more female protagonists in Star Wars adaptations, it’s been revealed that Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu of the USS Enterprise will have a husband in the newest edition to the Star Trek film remakes: Star Trek: Beyond, and Annie (2014) featured a young black girl as its eponymous character. Granted some of these have been more successful than others (I heard Annie was a flop and I didn’t see it myself but I support it), but it’s definitely more interesting when you give the original source material an upgrade. When you show it through a different lens.

Enter Ghostbusters. They’re here. They ain’t afraid of no ghosts. And they’re women.

Now I know some people are thinking “What does it matter if they’re women?” And let me just tell you: E V E R Y T H I N G.

How often do you see women who are heroes? How often do you see women with stories that don’t revolve around them being women? How often do you see four, complex, diverse women on screen at the same time?

Here’s just a short list of tests the new Ghostbusters passes:

  • Bechdel Test: All the women have a lot of conversations about things other than men. Like ghosts, and cadavers, and technobabble.
  • Sexy Lamp Test: None of the women can be replaced by a sexy lamp and have the plot remain intact.
  • Mako Mori Test: All the women have a narrative arc about busting ghosts and gaining respect, with the separate arc of Erin and Abby re-gaining their friendship, and neither arc supports a man’s story.
  • Furiosa Test: The movie makes a lot of manbabies* on the internet angry.**

Not a fat joke was made, these women were allowed to eat on screen, no woman was made to seem unattractive. It’s a low bar but you’d be surprised how little media meets it.

This is a story of women as women. A story as women as scientists. A story of women as heroes.

Says one original Ghostbusters enthusiast and father, after he’d taken his daughter to go see it: “So my daughter asks me the next day if we are gonna see the movie again. I said sure, why did you like it that much? She said yes. She liked that they were girls that were heroes. Honestly up until that point I really didn’t think much of the role genders played in the movie. My daughter looked up to these 4 women and it got to me” (x).

Representation is important. And this movie was funny and entertaining all the way through. I paid homage to the original for sure, but this updated Ghostbusters is something for a new generation of moviegoers to enjoy. And the best part? It’s for everyone.

-JM

*I didn’t want to dedicate too much time to this point because it’s exhausting being around so much negativity but I felt it would be disingenuous not to mention it. If the term ‘manbabies’ offends you, allow me to clarify: A manbaby is someone who doesn’t like the movie because it’s ‘ruining their childhood.’ Someone who thinks casting women as the main characters makes this a ‘chick movie.’ Someone who has sent hate messages to any of the actresses on Twitter. And if the hate message was calling Leslie Jones a gorilla, congrats! You’re also racist. A manbaby is someone who says this adaptation looks ‘dumb’ but is pumped to see Dr. Strange in November. 
Basically, if you were offended by any of those descriptions and/or are mad about this movie: Congratulations! You’re a manbaby.

**Totally stolen from this tumblr post.

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Myths about bisexuality

Lately I have been seeing a lot of talk against those who are bisexual. Unfortunately, pretty much of this talk has come from fellow members of the LGBTQIA community itself. For some reason, there is a lot of stigmatization around identifying oneself as bisexual and it is often not taken seriously. This happens a large amount in grade school, but the stigma never really dissolves. I’m going to address myths that I’ve encountered.

1. Bisexuals are more promiscuous.

  • False. Liking more than one sex does not make you promiscuous. Sexual orientation does not make you more promiscuous, gender does not make you more promiscuous. Sure you have a wider pool of potentials, but that doesn’t automatically make someone more promiscuous.

2. Because bisexuals are more promiscuous, they are more likely to cheat.

  • As previously mentioned, bisexuality has no correlation with promiscuity and, believe it or not, has absolutely no correlation with cheating. People cheat because they are bad people, not because of their sexuality. Another myth that goes hand in hand with this is that those who identify as bisexual are “greedy”, making them cheat because they like a lot of people at once. However, emotions work the same in people regardless of sexuality. I can’t speak for everyone but liking someone usually eliminates the likeage of other people, regardless of how you identify your sexuality.

3. Just pick a side.

  • Sure, sometimes bisexuality is used as a label before a person really discovers their true sexual orientation, but that doesn’t invalidate the label. Sexuality is fluid and coming out as gay is scary and experimentation is ok and you have no say in the validation of someone’s label. This idea of “picking a side” is so problematic. It erases the identity of bisexuality, making it mythical. Bisexuality is a real thing, not some in between. It may be for some people, but that doesn’t make it not true at the time. It’s ok to change the way that you identify. However, there are some people who identify as bisexual for their entire life.

4. Monogamous relationships make you straight or gay.

  • Along with thinking that bisexuals need to “pick a side”, people also refuse to acknowledge that bisexuality is real even when one is in a monogamous relationship. A lot of the time, their identity is reduced to the relationship that they are currently involved in. However, it is entirely possible to continue to identify as bisexual whether you are with the same or a different sex.

5. You are only interested in threesomes.

  • This is actually infuriating because I can’t tell you how many times I was greeted with “Do you want a threesome then?” when my sexuality came to light. Your sexual orientation has no relation to the desire to have a threesome. Please for the love of god stop sexualizing everything and making it about your pleasure. There’s nothing wrong with being bi and wanting a threesome, there’s nothing wrong with being straight and wanting a threesome, but please get rid of the association between being bisexual and only wanting to have threesomes!!

6. Can’t identify as bi if they haven’t been with ____

  • This isn’t only used against those who identify as bisexual, but I see it used a lot. People come out as bisexual and “Have you  been with the opposite gender? How do you know?” are some of the first things asked. However, you don’t need to intimately be with a person to know that you are attracted to them. How do you know you’re straight if you’ve never been with someone of the opposite gender? It’s just something you feel, and crushes are a thing that happen. You can identify as bisexual no matter who you have or haven’t been with.

7. Means you like only boys or girls, and equally.

  • There are a few things wrong with this. First, being bisexual isn’t only limited to male and female. Being bisexual means being attracted to two OR MORE genders. I know what you’re thinking, bi means two!! It has to be two!! You are wrong. Most bisexuals welcome all guys, gals, and nonbinary pals. Second, bisexuality isn’t an equal thing all the time. You can be mentally attracted to a certain gender while physically attracted to another gender, you can be both physically and mentally attracted to different genders, you can like one gender more than all the rest and STILL identify as bisexual.

Basically what I’m trying to get across is that sexuality is fluid and the only person who can dictate your sexuality is yourself. Those who identify as bisexual are valid and you have no place trying to tell them that they aren’t. Stay out of other’s sexualities and PLEASE reevaluate the biases that you hold within yourself.

-JB