It's a sad but true fact that much of the reaction to the announcement that Ghostbusters 3 would have an all-female cast was loudly, horrifically, and sickeningly sexist. However, you wouldn't expect that same sexism to come from a public figure, rather than someone who spends way too much time on Twitter. Still, that was the case when original Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson expressed his disapproval of the reboot with a nice statement like, "If they’re not funny at least hopefully it’ll be sexy." Because apparently that's all women are good for. Then Hudson showed his support for Ghostbusters 3 by calling it phenomenal, but I'm still not satisfied with the way in which he expressed his change of heart. In fact, his new comments still fall in line with his sexist outlook on the film.
You see, Hudson changed his tune in a tweet that showed a picture of the new all-female cast along with the caption, "Four fiercely funny, foxy, females busting ghosts … phenomenal!" If you'll remember from his earlier statement, Hudson didn't think that the all-female cast of Ghostbusters was going to work unless they were funny or at least sexy — so the fact that he's approving of the film now because the cast are "fiercely funny" and "foxy" just make this entire situation worse to me. I'm glad he tacked on phenomenal at the end, but it's a matter of language.
It's great that Ghostbusters 3 received an endorsement from one of the original cast members, especially one so complimentary. It just rubs me the wrong way that, due largely to his previous stance on the reboot, it feels like Hudson only changed his mind because Hollywood indeed cast four women that he considered funny or sexy or both. I don't particularly want him to support the film if that's going to be his reason for doing it, especially when his reasons for disapproving in the first place were so sexist even when couched under the guise of "what the fans want."
I'm not one of those people who often discusses the difference between fans and True Fans, but if you're a True Fan of Ghostbusters then you're should be more concerned about the reboot having a good plot that lives up to the original and not with the gender of the people fighting the ghosts. If that's your main concern, you're not a True Fan. And you're also a sexist. So, what it comes down to for me is that Hudson is praising these four women's beauty as if that is the qualifying factor that sets them apart from the original Ghostbusters. Can you imagine him calling the original Ghostbusters cast "foxy" if he wasn't a part of it?
When the upcoming film has already run into trouble trying to get some fans to accept the idea of an all-female cast as normal, and nothing to be upset about to begin with, the use of language like "foxy" or "hopefully it'll be sexy" just makes it sound like the only reason to put women in a Ghostbusters movie is if they're fulfilling some kind of male eye candy fantasy. It perpetuates the idea that it's no longer Ghostbusters but Lady Ghostbusters — or, worse, Hot Lady Ghostbusters. Last I checked, this was Ghostbusters not Miss Congeniality. Why does beauty matter?
These women are fierce. These women are funny. These women are phenomenal. And they are going to bust the heck out of some ghosts. But whether they are foxy or sexy or otherwise is not for people to comment on as if that's an equal deciding factor in whether or not they're right for this job, whether or not they can carry this movie, whether or not they are acceptable Ghostbusters in the 2010s. Don't get me wrong — they're all gorgeous — but I hope that wasn't a considering factor in whether or not they were going to land these parts. Not unless every Ghostbusters casting call, for males or females, reads "Must be super hot." (That would be a whole other issue.)
Next time Hudson wants to show his support for the all-female Ghostbusters cast, perhaps he could substitute the word foxy with "fantastic," "fantabulous," or even just a simple "fancy." And if you yourself are looking to discuss Ghostbusters 3, can we make a concentrated effort to stop "othering" the cast by calling it "female Ghostbusters" or by discussing the leading ladies in terms of their appearance? The great thing about Ghostbusters, and what Ghostbusters 3 is aiming to prove, is that this isn't just a job for men. It's a job for people. And the best way to support the all-female cast is to treat them with the same respect you would have awarded the original cast, especially when it comes to the language you use.
Image: Getty Images