Since the new Ghostbusters trailers have come out, a staggering number of mostly male fanboys have been tweeting that the Ghostbusters reboot starring four female cast members “ruined” their childhood, something that doesn’t sit right for two reasons. One, none of them have even watched the movie yet, so the response is kind of absurd as it doesn’t even hit theaters until July. And two, how many all-male reboots have sparked so many dramatic cries of childhoods ruined? In fact, remember how prematurely excited some fans got at rumors of an all-male Ghostbusters reboot starring Channing Tatum?
Melissa McCarthy, who stars in the reboot alongside Kristin Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, responded to those trolling the cast on social media, pointing out that much of the criticism centered around the fact that the film focused on female stars instead of male (well, Chris Hemsworth does seem to play a prominent male character, but he’s the ladies’ somewhat ditzy secretary). “All those comments — ‘You’re ruining my childhood!’ I mean, really,” McCarthy tells The Guardian. “Four women doing any movie on earth will destroy your childhood?” But she doesn’t let anger get the best of her — instead, she deals with these comments by trying to imagine the people making them and how lonely they must be: “… they’re just sitting there and spewing hate into this fake world of the internet. I just hope they find a friend.”
This isn’t the first time Melissa McCarthy’s films have elicited sexist responses. Paul Feig, who directed Ghostbusters, told Variety that some of the comments he’s seen online about McCarthy are full of “some of the most vile, misogynistic shit I’ve ever seen in my life.” And it’s not just random social media trolls with no credentials who make sexist comments about McCarthy — she deals with negative comments that revolve around her body from film critics. For instance, the New York Observer referred to McCarthy as “tractor sized” and a “female hippo” in a review about her film Identity Thief. And who can forget Donald Trump’s freak-out on Instagram last year when he heard about the Ghostbusters reboot: “They’re remaking Indiana Jones without Harrison Ford, you can’t do that. And now they’re making Ghostbusters with only women. What’s going on?!”
But sexism isn’t always so overt. McCarthy tells The Guardian that people often express doubts about how believable her characters are, calling them “crazy.” She smartly points out, “I think when a female character acts more defiant, it’s seen as a little more crazy. There are women in the world like this; we’re just not used to seeing them portrayed.” Whether she’s playing an egotistical white collar criminal under arrest for insider trading or a hilarious Guy Fieri-inspired bridesmaid, McCarthy shakes up the typical roles for women in Hollywood.
“We generally just see The Pleasant Lady who stands behind her husband going ‘Oh, Jack.’ But I really love a female character who is not playing by the rules,” says McCarthy.
She rightfully worries about how the sexist criticism of her films might impact her young daughters, Vivian and Georgette, who are nine and six.
“I don’t feel anger; I just feel trepidation when I think of my girls. Like, is this still really going on today? I guess it is.”
But McCarthy, who’s starring roles draw tens of millions in the box office on opening weekends, beating out male-centric Superhero movies for the number-one spot, is doing a pretty good job of changing the game for women in Hollywood.
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