Sexism still exists in Hollywood, the industry is still an old boys’ club

The new Ghostbusters trailer is the most hated thing on YouTube but it’s not surprising


The new female Ghostbusters trailer is the most hated video on YouTube, ever. Most fans are saying they dislike the trailer because it’s a remake in the first place, which, if anyone actually watched the trailer they would realize it is not a remake but an extension of the original story. Apparently that’s irrelevant.

But then we get into the whole women thing. Commenters have been saying that the film was badly cast, that it’s not misogynistic if you just don’t think these particularly women are funny, and some just come out and say it: they don’t think women are as funny.

The issue of gender inequality in Hollywood is not a new one. But to me the real issue is the way in which the industry is trying to fix it. Instead of writing new, original comedies or films for women, the industry is remaking old movies originally starring all-male casts. Yes, the jokes will be rewritten, and to me, the trailer looks hilarious, but this will not be heralded as a new brilliant female comedy. Instead, it will be “the female Ghostbusters,” which in and of itself is an issue. If the film is in fact good (which I hope it is) it will not be seen as a triumphant victory for female comedians, but a test passed that women can actually be as funny as men. Specifically, the four men who starred in the original Ghostbusters.

Ghostbusters isn’t the only film in this situation – Ocean’s Eleven will be remade with Sandra Bullock at the helm. This is not only a remake with women, this is a remake of a remake – the films starring George Clooney were a remake of an original 1960 Ocean’s Eleven with Frank Sinatra. There is, in fact, an entire Reddit thread with people throwing out films they’d like to see made with all female casts. Fight Club, Predator, and Saving Private Ryan are at the top of the list (which to me is just odd – we’re trying to make female focused films, not rewrite World War II, guys).

Bridesmaids is one of the best examples I can think of in terms of original, female driven comedies. Mean Girls was written by a woman (big up to Tina Fey, UVA alum) and is basically an all female cast. And it’s not just an issue in front of the camera. Two years ago I interned for two different production companies and a literary manager in Los Angeles. Every single person I worked with, every single person who was employed by these companies, were men. At the end of the summer I met with the head of one of the production companies to go over my performance and catch up about my future plans. I leaned over to him, and point blank asked, “Are there any women in this industry? Will I be able to work here as a woman?” He smiled and laughed unsurprised, as if he had heard the question a million times before. His answer? “Probably, but it will be hard.”

Chillin’ with the men in Cali

I never experienced any active discrimination because I was a woman. I was one of the most productive and capable interns they had. Everyone appreciated my work and I was given excellent recommendations. But there is just kind of a general understanding, a “boys’ club” tradition, that hasn’t been broken. Men run Hollywood – and that’s how it is.

Behind the hardship of having female-driven films made is the direction in which the film industry is going. Production companies keep swallowing each other up, and soon the original studio system will be in full swing once again. No longer will there be a Jon Favreau film or a Joss Whedon film, but a Marvel movie – the studio is once again becoming king, and independent direction is slowly dying. The rehashing of old, successful material is a safer bet than uncertain, original content. Female-driven films are almost impossible to get funding for these days, and even though Hollywood doesn’t want to drive viewers away, they are taking safer bets.

More independent directors and producers are taking to TV. Even though Hollywood is trying, they’re not trying hard enough. Maybe it’s time for a women’s TV revolution.