Trying to navigate through social media can be challenging at times. I struggle to figure out how representational of our country today are certain widely reported statements. For example, the disturbing statements directed toward women (often notable ones), because they are women. Are we really a nation full of people who think so poorly of women? Is it a small loud group harnessing Twitter and the like? Or is it a reality that there is indeed a significant portion of Americans who indeed harbor extraordinarily hostile opinions and feelings about women who break the mold, who in one way or another do not behave or act or present themselves in ways that may be more comfortable for this group. Or even just enjoy works by and about women.
One way this is playing out is in our current presidential campaign. But it is elsewhere constantly as well. Say the reaction to the forthcoming new Ghostbuster movie. The beloved original came out in 1984 featuring some very prominent-at-the-time male comedians. I remember enjoying it tremendously. And so I was chuffed when it was announced that there would be a 2016 reboot featuring some very prominent female comedians. I mean, what’s not to like?
Plenty, it seems, if you are on social media. When the movie was announced I vaguely recall some mentions of a negative response to the idea of female ghostbusters, but didn’t think much about it other than probably being a bit sympathetic to those who loved the original so much they didn’t want it touched. I hadn’t really considered that the reaction might be a form of misogyny even after learning that the trailer is the most hated youtube trailer ever. But then I read Kyle Buchanan’s “Why the Ghostbusters Trailer is the Most-Hated Movie Trailer on YouTube.”
A vocal contingent of the internet has been up in arms ever since Feig and Sony announced that the remake would star women like Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy instead of four men as in the original 1984 film, but the scope of the online vitriol — and the company the movie now finds itself in — is instructive. Sampson notes that the most disliked video on all of YouTube is Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” and female singers dominate the 100 most down-voted clips, including Taylor Swift, Madonna, Adele, Katy Perry, and Nicki Minaj. What do all these videos and the Ghostbusters trailer they now abut have in common? They star women or count women as a primary audience.
Reading this alongside political commentary about the woman card and other stomach churning reports of questionable behavior toward women and I really have to wonder. Is it just Trump? The Bernie Bros? A limited small loud group that knows how to use social media to make a splash? Or something more? I’ve no answers at all, just questions.