Friday, 10 June 2016

the ghostbusters problem

i can tell you now, i’m going to see the new ghostbusters movie. i’m actually pretty fucking excited about it.

some internet critics are, apparently, not going to see it. you must understand that they aren’t not going because they aren’t feminists. you can tell this is a problematic argument from the number of negatives in that sentence.

i want to see it, apparently, because i am a feminist; twitter has pointed this out to me several times, which tells me something really sad – that despite arguments to the contrary, they perceive a film about four women doing something other than planning a wedding to be feminist. and for feminists. and equally, therefore, not for them. why is this important? why the fuck does it matter that i'm excited about a film that hasn't been released yet while the majority of people are very vocal about how much they are most certainly not excited? because this is ghettoising women and media about women; it’s following our long tradition of excising women from popular culture. what really makes me sad is that i’m not at all surprised – has the bechdel test taught us nothing?

recently, on the same day as i was tweeting about not judging the ghostbusters film before you’ve seen it, i read a news story about one of the girls captured in 2014 by boko haram who was found, with her baby, in the forest in nigeria. and someone on twitter said words to the effect of, 'we don’t need feminism in first world countries, only third world countries.' and i was sitting there thinking, how can some people not see that it’s all part of the same thing?

for you and i to get along here reader, we’re going to need to get a few things straight. we are not assigning a more important/less important hierarchy here. i’m not interested in ranking the severity or seriousness of an infinite number of instances of prejudice and discrimination. what i’m saying is it’s all worth caring about. it all matters. it’s all connected.

i listened to this american life #586 the same week as all this was going on.  it's the episode called ‘who do you think you are?’ and it pretty quickly became apparent that the first story was about fgm. female genital mutilation. i hope you already knew that. it was really hard to keep listening as the journalist talked about the tarp on the living room floor when she was 7, the necklace she was given, her first visit to a gynaecologist. so here’s the thing: does this girl need feminism? does it matter what country she lives in? what religion? if this happened in ethiopia, does she need it? how about the u.s.? (it happened in neither) does her brother need feminism? the gynaecologist?  the clergy that the family claimed to be pleasing by doing it, although they publicly condemned it as illegal?

i kept listening. i kept listening because we need to hear this. we, as people, need to accept that this is reality. it doesn’t matter if this is the reality for one woman or several million women. we all need feminism because this still happens in the world, and it doesn’t matter if that is on my doorstep or 10,000 miles away. it might as well have been my living room.

we all need feminism because i was reading an article about kurdish women in the armed forces fighting i,s. simon ross valentine is writing a book about the peshmerga. this is what he had to say about lt. colonel nahida ahmad rashid:

“Although feminine, possessing a warm demeanor and an affable sense of humor, she is every bit a commander: a disciplined and decisive leader.” 18/5/16

apparently, in 2016, women still need an ‘although’ before we can acknowledge their leadership skills.

we all need feminism because i have never seen four women in a blockbuster movie together. and if you aren’t excited about that happening, regardless of what has been rebooted or what you think about the trailer, then i will personally spread the tarp on your living room floor. not in an ‘i’m going to cut you’ kind of way, but to show you that it’s all one thing. that we mutilate the image of women that is projected, across the world, to create a gender that is nothing to do with any real people. that we disfigure and rob them of their power. that we circumcise their education and castrate their aspirations, whether that’s for a ghostbusting career or experiencing an orgasm. it isn’t a coincidence or an accident that women are subjected to genital mutilation in some countries and all but invisible in the centre of mainstream culture in another, that this is happening to THE SAME FUCKING GENDER. we all need feminism because we all need gender equity and it hasn’t happened yet, anywhere. and no, i’m not going to add that men suffer too or that they will benefit from equity as much as women. because you shouldn’t need to know that in order to care.

that's why i'm excited about seeing ghostbusters, and whether you care about the film or not we should all be celebrating the fact that it exists.

1 comment:

  1. I think people think guys won't watch women kickass because its not there place but I like "Rey" from Star Wars so men have no problem there with women being strong just won't want to celebrate it in a bad movie.Sony has made the hate about this film about feminisim but really people hate it because 99% of reboots(Friday the 13th,Elm Street and even Sprider man) have nortoriously been horrible and this one is no different.

    Yes its cool to see 4 talented actresses together kicking ass but that doesn't save a movie with a horrible script,terrible plot holes and bad jokes.Just because you change a cast feature doesn't make it worth acclaim as it's interesting to see a black guy play Johnny Storm in the last Fantastic 4 movie but that doesn't make the movie good as it was terrible.
    Reboots are normally bad and this one was no different to.Not a horrible movie because they are 4 women on screen together it's just a wasted opportunity as it would have been better as a sequel than reboot.