By Marcelle Meyer
Did you know that there will be a new Ghostbusters movie starring female characters? Paul Feig recently confirmed this rumor, adding to the list of films that are advertising themselves based on the presence of female actors or female plotlines. But, here’s the catch—we don’t know the basis of the plot. And, as far as Hollywood is concerned, we don’t care.
Hollywood has a long history of perpetuating sexist agendas through the traditional roles of women in movies and how these characters are portrayed. However, using feminism as a new marketing tool is problematic for many reasons.
First of all, it creates a huge divide in how male and female actors are advertised. Nobody ever announces the creation of a movie “with a predominantly male cast.” That statement would lead to the questions: Which males? Are they talented? Have they starred in other films?
But, when the new Ghostbusters movie or the sequel to The Lego Movie are announced as having more “female stuff,” we all celebrate. This presents “female stuff ” as a generic, homogenous mass of feminism that doesn’t require differentiation. Announcing a female cast without offering any potential actresses is essentially implying that Emma Stone is interchangeable with Jennifer Lawrence because they are both female.Female stars deserve the same recognition of individuality that male stars receive and they should be identified by much more than their gender.
The second issue is that there isn’t a general way to define “female stuff,” or even “female.” How does one create a plot line that appeals to women, given that womenare each individuals with different interests and perspectives and senses of humor? Does Paul Feig believe that with the right amount of pink and a few romantic scenes, he will effectively appease the entire female population?
It is time for Hollywood to learn that, while many women and men will appreciate a good “chick flick,” there are many more women and men who do not. Stating that a movie will contain more “female stuff ” ignores the fact that all women do not have the same set of interests, but rather a variety of interests dependent on their individual identities.
Women need to be more equally represented in Hollywood; there is no doubt about that.
However, more representation will not be effective in advancing feminist ideals if it is not paired with better quality representation. The first step to that new representation has to involve recognizing the individual worth and identities of female stars in the same way that they are recognized in men.
Hollywood needs to stop clumping a group of different interests together as “female stuff.”