My childhood was in the late 80s/early 90s. I remember playing with friends in my neighbourhood, pretending we were characters in our favourite TV shows.
We would divvy up the parts: Huey, Dewey and Louie. Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello. Superman, Batman, Spiderman.
The common thread? Boys were the protagonists.
If my sister played with us she usually had one choice, if any: Daisy. April O’Neil. If there was more than one girl, there was often no other female character for them to take on.
We didn’t do this out of deliberate sexism. We were six years old. We were emulating behaviour learned from pop culture: boys are the heros. The girl (rarely girls, plural) were sidekicks, at best.
Do I want to eradicate all the male characters I enjoyed as a child? No. I think it’s great that boys like me were able to imagine ourselves as the heroes of different narratives, stopping crimes, defending the world.
But I’m not overly concerned that anyone’s childhood is going to “ruined” by an all-female cast of the Ghostbusters.
Instead I’m hopeful that it will let little girls the opportunity to have a childhood similar to mine. One where I was able to pretend to be a Ninja Turtle or superhero or Ghostbuster and not have anyone tell me it’s not my part to play because of my gender.
There are also people arguing that the all-female casting is gimmicky and indicative that the film won’t be good. I will leave it to you to parse the idea that casting women in the lead role of an action-comedy, in 2015, is “gimmicky”. ↩
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