I had high hopes for Ghostbusters (2016). The original was pure gold, and the song is still in our heads every time someone asks “Who you gonna call?” (You’re welcome.) But the remake is now likely doomed. When news broke on Tuesday that Hillary Clinton will be appearing with the new all-female team of spook sleuths on Ellen DeGeneres, every fear about feminism taking over this film was confirmed.
In announcing their upcoming appearance on her show, the famous “Ellen” didn’t even deny it. “Get your gender cards ready!” she tweeted, aiming for laughs but likely inspiring groans.
The entire cast of Ghostbusters is here next week and now @HillaryClinton is coming, too! Get your Woman Cards ready.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) May 17, 2016
Ghostbusters should be able to stand on its own, just like the original in 1984. Cracks, wit, originality, and some good ‘ole ghost-whoppin’ made the first one a classic, but the hanging specter of forced feminine empowerment threatens to doom the sequel.
Yes, we know that women can pull their own — heck, men are babies when it comes to childbirth. We don’t need more messages that the ladies can and should take charge — we need them to actually do so. Actresses are just as good as actors, and stories about women are just as compelling as stories about men — so long as they aren’t just about the gender difference.
In fact, feminists have long complained about the artistic trope of “strong female characters.” Recognizing that most stories revolved around a man’s coming-of-age, artists rightly tried to compensate by giving women central roles in stories, but many of them pretended to do this without really doing it. The result was a “strong female character” — a powerful woman without real any compelling character development. She was the shell of feminism without the substance.
If Ghostbusters relies only on its female cast and on the popular support for feminism, rather than on its real artistic strengths, it will be the movie version of a “strong female character.” Rather than a real tribute to the fact that stories like Ghostbusters can be just as interesting, compelling, and funny with women as they are with men, it will end up supporting the false idea that they cannot be.
In the name of feminism, the Feminist movement could actually do real harm to women’s place and honor in the world.
This principle also applies to politics. A woman can be just as powerful and impactful as a man in the political realm — just look at Margaret Thatcher. But that does not mean feminists need to push a fundamentally flawed candidate.
Next Page: How Hillary Clinton is the “strong female character” of politics.
Hillary Clinton — the secretary of State who used a private server to hide her dealings from the American people, the first lady who attacked the women who claimed to be sexually abused by her husband and then hypocritically declared, “Every survivor of sexual assault deserved to be heard, believed, and supported” — should not be our first woman president.
There are already signs that people are being asked to vote for her merely because she is a woman. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright infamously declared, “There is a special place in hell” for women who do not support Clinton.
If Clinton does become president, she will tarnish the leadership of women, just as “strong female characters” tarnish women in the arts.
The fact that Clinton will appear with the new Ghostbusters cast on Ellen DeGeneres does not necessarily doom the upcoming film or the upcoming presidential candidate. But it does suggest a terrifying connection between the two: Will America be asked to accept and praise a sub-standard film that doesn’t match up to the original in the name of feminism, just as it is being asked to do with a deeply flawed candidate? I sincerely hope not.