Column: ‘Ghostbusters’ shows strong, confident women

The characters are women we need to befriend. The ones who have your back, who push you to be the best version of yourself

Jean Johnson
The Detroit News
  • ‘Ghostbusters’ isn’t just a good chick flick to see with your besties. It’s a nice date-night option
  • The next generation needs to experience these amazing women; it’s great for girls AND boys

If something strange was really going on in my neighborhood, I’d call the new “Ghostbusters.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love the original. But the last thing I would want are those dudes to come to my house, act like I’m irrational, and then try to seduce me. All the while Gozer the Destructor fries eggs on my countertop.

While a hilarious classic, we can all admit the original handled women pretty crappy, right?

So I was a little surprised that when this film was announced, everyone acted like it was the end of the world. How dare they update a classic, starring skirts nonetheless?

For the first time in my entire life I saw an action movie where I was represented. The leads — Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon — were smart, confident, hilarious, educated women. They weren’t over-sexualized. They worked together, encouraging each other. They had a lot more important things to do than sit around, trash-talking each other.

Review: Who ya gonna call? Not these ‘Ghostbusters’

Let me tell you something ladies, these are the type of women we need to “squad up” and befriend. The ones who have your back, and the ones who push you to be the best version of yourself.

More importantly, they’re not damsels in distress. Seriously, don’t worry about saving them, guys. Not only can each one say “I’ve got this,” but they’re the only ones capable of saving the planet.

How many films can brag about that? Not a lot. Don’t believe me? It’s such a problem that there’s a scientific method determining how well-rounded female characters are.

The Bechdel Test, if you’re not familiar, is a measure of a woman’s role in a work of fiction, including film, book or show. There are three requirements: it needs have at least two women in it, who talk to each other, and talk about something other than a man. Sounds simple, right? According to website, nearly 60 percent of films pass the test.

The “Ghostbusters” reboot not only passed with flying colors, but it sets the bar much higher for female-driven flicks.

Throughout the movie, there was no reference to people’s dumb boyfriends. I never had to worry if he “liked” her, hear about a lame breakup, or worry that these strong women were crumbling the fragile egos of the men surrounding them. In fact the romantic interests of these characters were nothing more than a little wink, few will even notice.

They can bring home their own paycheck, thank you very much. These are women who attended college for something other than an “MRS Degree.” Their hair was sometimes in ponytails (egads!) and a bunch of cleavage wasn’t bursting out of their outfits.

What’s sad is some girls growing up do not get role models like this. Me? I was super lucky. I had a bunch of strong role models: my mom, babysitter, a bunch of teachers, coworkers and others. But never on the big screen, let alone in 3-D.

And sorry mom, even though you had to put up with a lot of stuff in the auto industry, you never told me stories of you blowing up bad guys, getting slimed or building crazy nuclear-based equipment that could potentially destroy the planet. I’ll give you a pass, because you’ve told me stories about working with tanks, cadavers and living in a convent. But I digress...

“Ghostbusters” isn’t just a good chick flick to go see with your besties. It’s a nice date-night option, especially if the guy has an evolved view of the world and doesn’t intend to drag you by your hair back to his cave.

More importantly, it’s great for kids. The next generation needs to experience these amazing women, and not just the girls either. Please take your sons. It’s time for them to see real women in action.

There’s only one complaint I have about “Ghostbusters.” I am going to have to wait about nine years before I can introduce it to my 1-year-old niece Cora. The movie gets a little scary sometimes, so I wouldn’t want to traumatize her. But when she gets older, I’ll be sure to tell her whom to call:

The female Ghostbusters.

Jean Johnson isn’t just a phenomenal woman; she’s a page designer at The Detroit News.