The new reboot of Ghostbusters has been met with no shortage of controversy, primarily because the four main characters have been swapped out from male to female. The follow-up to the all-male original cast now features Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones in the lead roles. This major change has excited thousands of eager new fans around the world, but angered thousands more.
The first official Ghostbusters trailer broke a record for the most dislikes ever received by an official movie teaser, bringing in nearly one million thumbs down. The majority of the backlash against the Ghostbusters film seems to be coming from men who are furious that the reboot has altered their beloved intellectual property to be female-centric.
But a recent photo of Kristen Wiig greeting starry-eyed young Ghostbusters fans has brought a new perspective to the debate, with hundreds citing the image as an example of why little girls are desperate for female heroes like those played by Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy.
Look at these childhoods that have been ruined! pic.twitter.com/DBUX0swyvSAccording to On Breaking, the photo was snapped on Tuesday at the official premiere of the Ghostbusters reboot in Los Angeles. It shows Kristen Wiig shaking hands with a young girl dressed in her own Ghostbusters costume. It's clear by the look on the girl's face that she is absolutely thrilled to be meeting Kristen Wiig, who plays Ghostbuster Erin Gilbert, face-to-face. Another young costumed fan can be seen standing off to the side, waiting her turn. Her face is even more star-struck by the sight of Kristen Wiig.
— Zach Heltzel (@zachheltzel) July 11, 2016
According to Buzz Feed, the photo has gone rapidly viral across social media sites, with thousands of people who support Kristen Wiig and the new Ghostbusters film sharing the image to demonstrate how excited young girls are to have brand new female role models.
This *is* important. When my daughter was little, it was a tough search for female heroes amidst the male legions. https://t.co/AAoSVIAACqWhile Hollywood is not devoid of any female heroes, most blockbuster films are cast with male leads, and female actresses usually fill the supporting roles. For decades, young girls have had scarce options of women to look up to. Fortunately, this trend seems to be changing. Not only is Wonder Woman slated to get her own movie soon, but the newest Star Wars film featured a female lead, Rey, who young female fans adore. Kristen Wiig could simply be the newest heroine to fill this role.
— Jonathan L. Howard (@JonathanLHoward) July 11, 2016
this is important pic.twitter.com/vktpp4JZqjHowever, all this positivity surrounding Kristen Wiig and the new Ghostbusters film has not come without another wave of backlash. While many view the reboot as a chance for a new generation of young people, boys and girls alike, to enjoy the Ghostbusters franchise, others think the movie is forcing a "feminist agenda" on the population.
— anna (@roonaymara) July 10, 2016
Kristen Wiig has responded to the Ghostbusters controversy in different ways. In some interviews, she and her female cast members have shrugged off the complaints. But Wiig recently admitted that it "bummed" her out knowing so many people were furious at Ghostbusters simply for having female leads.
"It's really sad that people felt that way, in combination also with not listening to it because we knew we were making it in the spirit of the first two and with the people who made the first two," Kristen Wiig said. "People need to stop being so mean."
Others had pointed out that the anger over Ghostbusters erupted long before the movie even came out, meaning hundreds of thousands of outraged men were judging the film before they even saw it. Melissa McCarthy found this part of the controversy to be the most suspicious.
"Any time someone critiques something that has not yet been made I find it a bit peculiar. It's truly like giving a book review to the author who's like 'I haven't written it yet.'"What do you think about the photo of Kristen Wiig greeting Ghostbusters fans? Does it show that young girls need female heroes?
[Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Sony/AP Images]