Why Ghostbusters Busts Through Way More Than Ghosts

This year’s remake of the 1984 original Ghostbusters has had a rocky road. Like anything that seeks to break new ground, the decision to remake a hit classic from our childhood had a very mixed reception which swung widely between those delighted that women had a chance to be as funny and entertaining as the original male cast, and fans of the original who though a female-remake was close to heresy.

But the new 2016 rebooted Ghostbusters achieved way more than either its fans or critics could have imagined. A new generation of young people, both girls and boys, have seen a movie that’s funny, entertaining, scary (and sometimes even gross) with a thoroughly gender-balanced cast.

Why did I love it?

It’s one thing to know logically that it’s good for your girls to see strong, smart women on screen, and another thing entirely to see your girls and boys laughing their heads off as a woman kicks butt against an army of ghosts.

It was so heartening to see that they just didn’t care about which gender was doing what. At no point did the boys complain that the boys were being left out (which they weren’t, just about all of the supporting roles were male) and the girls weren’t shocked to see women on screen acting like normal people.

When almost every other movie they watch is stacked heavily in the boys’ favour (including Frozen, with almost 60% of the lines spoken by males) this movie was refreshing.

None of the women felt the need to fall in love (although there was a fair bit of lusting going on – but when it comes to Liam Hemsworth who could blame them?). And the women were the opposite of stereotypes – they were complex, diverse, interesting and whole.

Should my kids watch it?

Although not strictly a ‘kids’ movie’, anything with copious amounts of slime is bound to appeal to the younger generation.

Most parents will have memories of watching the original Ghostbusters, and since the 2016 scary content is similar in the original, you’ll be able to judge for yourself if your kids are old enough to handle it. Better yet, this is definitely a movie to watch with the kids. You’ll love it as much as they do and there are so many conversation starters along the way.

There’s no fear that you or your girls will be exposed to anything that resembles a stereotypical ‘damsel in distress’. Instead, you’ll get to watch as women follow their dreams, investigate problems, fight baddies, invent super-cool blasters, and overcome multiple obstacles.

And the best bit of all? They act like women.

They’re unsure how to use the mega ghost puncher thingy (not its actual name), and they question whether or not they’re doing the right thing, which you rarely see from any male lead. Like normal women, they listen to each other and build each other up, rather than competing.

I want my kids to have a huge range of role models to choose from, and Ghostbusters delivers in spades with a variety of different, intelligent, driven women who aren’t afraid to face down a green ghoul on the streets of New York.

So should your kids watch it? If they can deal with the scary bits and the very occasional rude word, then there are few movies that can compare if you want your children to believe they can achieve anything, regardless of whether they’re a girl or a boy.

Grls enjoying Ghostbusters Movie

What did the kids think?

They loved it. Obviously. They’re kids, and completely oblivious to the drama surrounding a female remake of a beloved favourite. Instead, they saw relatable characters of both sexes blast slimy ghosts and restore the peace.

As with any good movie enjoyed for all ages, many of the funniest bits went right over the kids’ heads. But that didn’t stop them from loving it anyway.

“That was great – Can we watch it again?” – Maya, age 10

They’ve now watched it four times in the past few days – ha ha!

The key to creating a better world for our girls lies in changing what we teach both girls and boys. We need to show both our daughters and our sons that women are intelligent, entertaining and capable. For our girls so they know what’s possible; and for our boys so they understand girls are no different to them.

Watching Ghostbusters was no big deal for my kids. Even during the big battle scene both boys and girls were enthralled with the four leads as they demolished the advancing hoards. They never stopped to think that maybe a man would have been stronger, or question their roles as experts and heroes.

Which is exactly what we need; for change to occur it needs to be just as normal for girls to save the day as it is for boys. Our girls need female role models just like the Ghostbusters characters, and our boys need to watch them succeed.

Click here to get your own copy of Ghostbusters!

More ways to model girl power:

Image: top – Getty / Vera Anderson/WireImage; bottom – Kristy Vallely