Saturday, 16 July 2016

Who ya gonna call?

I've been called a geek, a nerd, a dork, for most of my life; people have also thought that it was important to point out that I'm female. All the damn time, like I hadn't noticed or something. I've always just thought of myself as me.

Apparently that wasn't an option.

I played gameboy games as a kid; I followed franchises and watched flash animations until my eyes were so tired all I could see were badgers. I've cosplayed, read comic franchises religiously, collected figurines and worn Wonder Woman insignia; I spent countless hours on World of Warcraft running away from random dudes trying to flirt with my character. But there's something that's been missing for so long and I think its finally starting to appear.

I could hardly ever see myself in the franchises I loved.

Sure, there were times that I could envision it: I loved imagining being an engineer on the Enterprise or Voyager; I wished for Superman's powers and Lois Lane's tenacity; I absorbed trivia and became an asset to pub quiz teams everywhere; I'm first in line to see the new Marvel films, whilst trying hard to ignore the fact that the female characters' armour doesn't cover their chests, and therefore their necks and hearts...come on, that just makes no damn sense!

But, but. I have just been to see Ghostbusters and despite a long working week I am so buzzed by the film that sleep is not coming anytime soon.

I was a fan of the original, although I will admit to not being as fanatical about it as some. I was always more of a Superheroes/Star Trek/Doctor Who kinda gal. I love the original films, don't get me wrong, but the new one is something incredibly special.

Its special because I can see myself up there; I can see four realistic women being portrayed in a 'nerdy' franchise and I swear I nearly cried I was so happy.

There are so many reasons why this film is important, but I'm going to try and summarise a few of the top priorities:

1) Girls and Women could totally love the original franchise, but if they were specifically looking for women to emulate in the playground, pickings were slim. Speaking as a woman who grew up pretending to be the Disney princes because they got to do all the interesting shit, some more obvious badass women would have been awesome. REPRESENTATION IS IMPORTANT (in case that wasn't clear).

2) This film, if people are paying attention, could really be a major (perhaps even final?) nail in the coffin of the 'women aren't funny' argument. The four main women in Ghostbusters represent many different styles of comedy throughout the film. We were laughing so hard the drink from our oversized cinema cup was basically streaming from our nostrils.

3) More than one body type is represented. And this is really important. I cannot stress this enough. No mention is made of the women's sizes at any point; they are simply four women. They are not all tiny, photoshopped and always worrying about their weight. They are JUST GETTING ON WITH THEIR LIVES. This is so damn rare in films, I can't even. You even see them eating and THERE'S NOT A SALAD TO BE LAUGHED AT ALONE IN SIGHT.

4) There's one or two brief conversations about men (mostly about the brilliant pastiche part of Kevin) but mostly, its science, Ghostbusting, research and general weirdness. This is also damn rare. Don't believe me? If you aren't familiar with the Bechdal test, go take a look on google. Go on, I'll wait.



5) They trolled the haters. In the film. All those douchebags who spent the months since the film was announced whining about how it'll 'ruin the original' and how 'girls can't be ghostbusters', down-voting the trailer on YouTube and generally being asshats. I won't spoiler it too much but...its glorious.

6) The costumes are lampooned for being impractical (including a wonderful jibe at Kristen Wiig's high heels) before being changed for the practical, hard-wearing jumpsuits that we all know and love. AND THEY ALL HAVE THEIR HAIR OUT OF THEIR EYES AND FLAT WATERPROOF SHOES. Yes, I'm shouting. Have you any idea how hard it is to fight evil with your hair in your eyes no matter how perfectly coiffed it is? And don't even get me started on running in heels. JUST NO.

There are so many other awesome things about this movie, but I think I'll let you go and see it and hope that you love it as much as I do.

Finally a film for us geek girls. Finally something that we don't have to prove our credentials for or wear ludicrous outfits to emulate.

Finally we can sit in the cinema and laugh at jokes that are made by people we can recognise, people who could be our friends, and jokes which are, crucially, not made at our expense.