Call me oversensitive, but Hollywood has given me so many reasons to be that I feel justified in saying I was worried about the new Ghostbusters uniform. Whether you're a fan of Ghostbusters or not, it was hard to sleep through the sexist controversy that surrounded the announcement that a film with an all-female Ghostbusters team was in the works. "Girls can't fight ghosts!" the sexists cried. "I feel oppressed by the fact that there is not at least one man on this team!" As eye roll-inducing as that was, there was still a lot of potential for the film itself to fall into certain subtly sexist traps — such as feminizing the uniform just because the people wearing it were women. Luckily, when Paul Feig revealed the new Ghostbusters uniform, it was simply an updated version of the old Ghostbusters uniform, rather than a version updated specifically for women to wear. And that's amazing.
I'm not saying that a feminized uniform is an inherently bad thing. As feminist icon Emma Swan from Once Upon a Time once said, "You don't have to dress a woman as a man to give her authority." However, the point of the new Ghostbusters film is not that the new team is fighting ghosts WITH LADY POWAH and, as recently as Spy, Feig has been making films that eschewed the comedy of "women doing men things" to the instead mine the comedy potential inherent in the personality of the characters, regardless of gender, and how it both aids and prevents them from navigating easily through the plot.
So the fact that the Ghostbusters uniforms are as gender neutral as they always have been says to me that this is not a film about women doing Ghostbusters; it's a movie about Ghostbusters doing Ghostbusters. Led by women instead of men this time around.
One of the common complaints about the upcoming Ghostbusters film is that the film will be rife with political correctness gone mad(!!!) wanting to lady-ify everything that made the original films so great, or that the women are going to do stereotypically women things like nagging the ghosts out of existence. (Sorry, I am too poor to pay your medical bills if you hurt yourself rolling your eyes as hard as I am.) The common tangent in those two complaints is the intense fear that the new film will take an established action movie and "make it girly," and that would have started with the uniform. Now, don't get me wrong. After complaints like that, I would be the director petty enough to paint my entire set pink and tell the Internet to suck it. But I like Feig's way better.
Because he is making a Ghostbusters film first, and a film about women second, and that's the way that it should be. Since we don't yet live in a world where the fact that this Ghostbusters team is all-female isn't the most noteworthy thing about them, the fact that Feig isn't going out of his way, whether in his update of the theme song or in his approval of the uniforms, to make this fact the be-all end-all defining part of the film is the perfect way to spit in the face of this controversy. The fact that the team is all women is the Internet's hang-up, not Feig's. He's just over here trying to make a good entry into the Ghostbusters franchise that just so happens to be led by some of the greatest ladies in the business.
So when you call Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones into your house to deal with a supernatural threat, they're going to turn up in Ghostbusters uniforms that, let's be real, are more awesome and modern than the old Ghostbusters uniforms. Even better, they're not going to turn up in Ghostbusters uniforms with glowing signs on the back that read, "LADIES ONLY" just to assert themselves as new entries into a franchise that was previously a boys' club. They could have done that, but they didn't. And it was a great choice.
Image: Columbia Pictures