As I said goodbye to everyone after my kickboxing class tonight, this little queen stopped me right in my tracks. She had a cardboard box slung over her shoulders like a backpack, with a paper towel tube affixed to the side of it with yarn. Does it look familiar to you?
You guys, she’s a Ghostbuster:
This young child is out here busting ghosts with her lonchera cookie box and I am LIVING FOR IT.
If you think that movies are “just movies”, I hope you’ll see that this is a perfect example of why representation matters. Cookie box backpack girl saw a big summer movie about a group of smart, funny women who save New York City, where she lives. It affected her. She now wants to be like them: a scientist and a hero at the center of her own narrative.
This is exactly why I was obsessed with Special Agent Dana Scully as a child. She was not secondary to her male partner, Agent Mulder. She totally kicked ass on the X-Files, furrowing her brow skeptically at Agent Mulder’s nonsense, frequently shutting it down with a simple “I’m a medical doctor, Mulder.” She saved the day on multiple occasions…with science. Apparently, actress Kate McKinnon (who plays Dr. Holtz in the Ghostbusters reboot) was obsessed with Agent Scully as a child also:
— Gillian Anderson (@GillianA) July 18, 2016
Amazing right? Still, though we have our Scullys and our Holtzs, when I think about the other women this little girl sees depicted in movies and on television, I am reminded of just how much work there is left to do. When her parents watch TV, she sees women who only speak about the male character’s story. She sees women who don’t speak at all. Women who only look a certain way. Women who are props. Women who are punchlines. Soon enough she’ll get the message that we don’t really care about women that much, and she’ll be right.
The 2016 Ghostbusters reboot was the subject of vitriol, before it even came out, just because it featured women. It is the most “disliked” movie trailer on YouTube. After its release, actress Leslie Jones was harassed on Twitter by a bunch of racist trolls for daring to be a non-white, non-model-sized, non-model-aged woman in a movie.
But it doesn’t stop us. We demand better. We demand to be seen and heard. We tell our stories anyway.
AND we support films with women in front of the camera and behind it. I hope you went to go see Ghostbusters opening weekend, as we discussed, and if you didn’t, I hope you saw it shortly after. I went opening weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie in a packed theater. Everyone was cracking up.
And I really hope I see more little girls with ghostbusting cookie box backpacks around Brooklyn as a result.