Ghostbusters and Equity

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Reflect

The Gospel value of Equality/Equity is grounded in recognizing that God doesn’t favour one person and that Jesus, in his teachings, has shown us that love knows no boundaries. This includes: gender, race, class, sexuality etc.

As noted by St. Pius X “Genuine equality consists only in this: that all persons have their origin in God the Creator, have been redeemed by Jesus Christ, and are to be judged according to their merits or demerits.”

Watch the video below and as a whole group or individually, reflect on the following questions:

1. How has the equity that Jesus promoted been challenged in the world today?

2. Was there ever a time where you didn’t uphold the promise of equity or when you paid witness to an unjust incident? Where did your thinking come from? What was your response to the incident?

Action

From the onset of production, when director Paul Feig (known for his critically acclaimed films Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy) shared a Twitter post of the four new female Ghostbusters, the social media induced cry of creative blasphemy echoed with internet trolling ridiculing the shift in gender and casting. For a small group fuelled by the autonomy of the internet, the new female Ghostbusters took away the perceived magic of the 1984 original by picking it from its male roots. The very nature of the trolling, infused with misogynistic and racist commentary towards the female casts, speaks to the ongoing cultural conversation about gender and the conservative preservation of masculinity. As such, it’s important to recognize that the cultural conversation based on and inspired by the reimagined Ghostbusters rises out of a political and moral discourse; the film speaks to ongoing issues in the woman’s plight for equity both in terms of film narrative and social consciousness.

In understanding the genesis of the film along with director Paul Feig’s celebrated body of work that intentionally realigns genre discourse through the lens of the female experience, it’s important to recognize that his filmmaking stems from a personal sensibility aligned with strong, emotionally grounded, intelligent, humorous and empowered women in his life who have influenced his creative work. Whether it be the buddy-cop pairing of Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in The Heat to the James Bond inspired Spy, as both writer and director, his stories are intentional in their female-driven design.

In the video interview below, director Paul Feig reflects on his female-driven narrative and their inspiration.

In watching Paul Feig address his sensibilities for the female narrative its important to recognize that his body of work has become incredibly topical in a time where the battle of equality continues both within the model of mainstream film production and societal and cultural reception. This is reinforced by Dr. Susan Jeffords, an expert in popular culture and communications. In the video below, she addresses the need for gender equality as exemplified in Ghostbusters and why the advocacy for gender equality is so important.

Building and expanding upon the interview with Dr. Jeffords, watch the scene below from Ghostbusters and reflect on how Dr. Erin Gilbert is treated by her male colleague. How was Dr. Erin Gilbert devalued in this scene?

Although Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristin Wigg) is a validated scholar in her field, she, is not truly treated as an equal. In this respective scene, she is stripped of her dignity through her colleague’s assertion not only about the legitimacy of her academic references but her dress. This very subtle moment, is not disconnected from the realities of women in male dominated places of work. This includes assertions made by Donald President Trump that woman working in the White House were to “dress like a woman.”

Regarding reading Ghostbusters through a faith lens, it’s important to embrace how rich of a text it really is when it comes to re-imagining and realigning the gender conversation within genre filmmaking. In thinking about characterization, unlike the original where the female is on display as a victim or potential love interest, the characters in Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters are richly developed female characters; smart, innovative, creative, brave and heroic.

Regarding developing the characters as women who challenge traditional genre norms, please see the video below featuring Paul Feig.

It is within the conversation of character that science, plays a significant role in the equality discourse. The women in Ghostbusters are “doing” science. In a contemporary education environment where there are ongoing conversations about the viability of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts  and Math), the growing concern has been on the limited integration of woman. It is within the framework that Ghostbusters, progressively, places women in a positive position of power and although they’re belittled throughout the narrative, they prove to be of great worth and equal to the tradition of masculinity and male intelligence within the original 1984 film. At the end, they demand respect and deserve it; not only for saving the day but for their resiliency, collective resourcefulness, innovation, creativity, ability to effectively collaborate and importantly advocate for themselves.

Film Journal Activity:

As a whole group or individually, read the following short essay Why feminists have an obligation to see ‘Ghostbusters’  and complete the following film journal entry: Film Journal – Ghostbusters – The Catholic Filmmaker

Consolidation

As a whole group, engage in a conversation grounded in the Journal exercise and shape meaning through representation.

Refer to The Catholic Filmmaker for a guide to short narrative production. Use your critical and creative voice to shape a conversation around equity – provoke an audience to see the world in a progressive way that promotes dignity for all people.

 

 

 

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