The new Ghostbusters barely started filming, but people all over the place are already (and have been since its announcement) declaring that it will absolutely and inevitably suck. Some attribute this to the general tendency of remakes to be… less than great. Others blame the director. Most, though, don’t even bother to hide that it’s because of the cast. Specifically, because the cast are women. And then get all defensive when you ask them if they’d be as angry at the remake if it were to star a cast of men, and if they maybe, just maybe, might be a little sexis-
“You only like this because it’s women, what if we genderswapped Alien, you’d be up in arms about that!”
Yes, that happened. And it actually got me thinking. I’d be pretty much okay with that. Why? Because, and let’s bask in the delicious irony here for a minute, in that case, the cast would still be female by a vast majority. Five of seven crew members of the Nostromo were men in the original. Genderswap the cast, and you’ll have a film with a crew primarily made up of women. Somehow, I don’t think Original Commenter would be okay with that, either.
So how about this, Generic Brodude Commenters suggesting to genderswap female-led films: We genderswap all films. As in, every single film Hollywood is going to make for, say, three years from now. No exceptions. And no cheating – you write the exact same scripts as you would now, but the cast will be 100% genderswapped. So yes, you get your dude-led films you seem to want to much. But we also get the lady-led films we want so much. And it will be glorious.
Let’s look at this for a moment:
(Infographic from Lee & Low Books)
This is sci-fi and fantasy only, and it’s marginally better if you take all genres into account, but the problems this hints at are still there. So, according to this lovely (and also sad and disgusting) infographic, the next three years would be amazing (especially for me, because yay sci-fi!). In fact, let’s take it a little further. Let’s genderswap the directors, too. Also, every role that would be cast with a white person now gets cast with a person of colour, and vice versa. As would directors. Let’s also take about… let’s say 15%, that’s a manageable number for now, so 15% of those films and write the lead as homosexual, bisexual, trans, nonbinary, with a disability… or any combination of these. And then cast with actors accordingly. So every gay man on the screen is played by a gay man. Every trans person is played by an actual trans person. Every disabled character… You get the idea.
…I admit I’m kind of in love with this idea. Too bad I’d need a magic want to make it happen…
If you now say this is ludicrous, there’d suddenly be women and people of colour and gay people everywhere… please, enlighted me: How is it any less ludicrous when there are straight white men everywhere?
So far, no-one had an answer for that that wasn’t the old “people don’t want to see that” crap. Which is bullshit no matter how you look at it. The Hunger Games films are doing pretty well. Still Alice made back eight times its budget so far, and isn’t out on DVD yet. Annie did well enough. Spy and, god help me, but Fifty Shades of Grey and The Fault in Our Stars are making tons of money, too. And even though people keep insisting they are crap, the Resident Evil films so far have made almost a billion dollars (spoiler: Some of that money is from me. Because I like them. A lot).
The point is, the “argument” that people don’t want to see films made by and/or starring women is bullshit. I mean, the most kickass charactes in RE are Alice, Rain and Claire (please let Rain be back in the last one…) – and before you try and argue the quality of those films, go look at Fast & Furious and tell me how, exactly, those are better. Or Rambo. Or any other brainless action film that has a plot thinner than my patience. And yet somehow, those films all keep making money.
Marvel has proven with Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man that people will see anything as long as you slap the big red logo in front of it. So how come I need to wait for almost twenty films in the MCU to see one that stars anything other than a white man? And Alien proved over thirty years ago that you can make amazing all-time classics with a woman in the leading role.
So, for our little experiment, I predict absolutely zero change in box office money. Because people like me finally have a ton of reasons to go to the cinema, and brodudes have so few options that they would have to go see films with all sorts of people but straight white guys in them if they want to have some entertainment at all. Pretty much just like it’s now for me. And it sucks. But that’s the point. Depressing as that sounds, most people will only really try and change something if it negatively affects them personally. People, in general, are assholes. So “making” them watch diverse films for a few years might be the only way to shake Hollywood up enough to bring about real change, and not at a snail’s pace. And it would, I’m pretty sure of that, drastically improve the overall quality of Hollywood films.
And then we go and do the same for video games!
…no? Too much?
*sigh* Fine. Too much. But one day, we will. And it will be amazing.