Last week, The Argus published an Opinion piece (which I, as an Opinion editor, edited) entitled “On Ghostbusters and the Way We See Women in Media.” It was a new piece, by a new writer, and I was impressed by how compact, thorough, and compelling it was. It articulates many explicit and latent issues pertaining to the film industry’s representation of women, provides a few avenues by which we could move forward, and expresses a sincere, emotional response to seeing a film (and a pretty good one at that) in which the role of women is central and essential.
Then, a few days later, I read the comments. This is my response. I address this directly to you, the specific commenters on this specific Argus article.
Just, stop it.
Please, stop it.
So much ink has been spilled by and about you. Your mechanical, relentless search for any piece of writing on the Internet that contains the words “new” and “Ghostbusters.” The pages and pages of comments you write on such articles. The way you are overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, male. The angry YouTube videos. The targeted harassment.
I am not here to argue. I am here to tell you to stop it.
You have had your piece. You have had your say. Over the voices of thousands of women that you have trampled, threatened, scared, silenced because you could not wrap your head around a film not being made for you (and rest assured This. Was. Not. Made. For. You.). You made yourself unable to be ignored. The world knows what you think. The world knows that your “childhood,” as you so call it, is so fragile, that something as inoffensive as a comedy about women hunting ghosts has “ruined” it. I understand. You’ve been coddled all your life. You’re not used to things that don’t directly pander to you, and you think this movie should. But it doesn’t. I’m sorry. But you’ve had your piece, you’ve had your say on every corner of the Internet. And now it’s time to stop it.
Just, stop it.
It’s absolutely exhausting. Usually, a temper tantrum wanes, it tires itself out. But this one hasn’t. It hasn’t, because you are wrong. You know you are wrong. There’s nothing more infuriating than being wrong. You may think this is discourse. It is not. You are shouting over everything and anything. Aren’t your throats tired? Isn’t there something more valuable to rage against? Do you sleep soundly at night? Or do you scream to yourself, knowing that a piece of pop culture isn’t made for you? Surely, this relentlessness hurts you, too.
But you still refuse to stop. You call feminism the cancer, but nothing in this movie, or in feminist ideology, is as harmful or scary or tiring as you are. In fact, there is nothing, in feminism or in this movie harmful or scary at all, except for having to face you and your violence-as-conversation. These are not counterarguments. Your remarks are far from discourse. They are toxic. They are corroding, and corrosive.
No, it is not a perfect movie. But if it were, would that matter to you? You know it wouldn’t. You don’t hate the thing. You hate the idea. This is terrifying.
You might not be the harassers, the people who spent so much time and effort crafting the most horrifying images and sentences and sending them to Leslie Jones, and when that was no longer acceptable, hacked her website and published her personal photos. You might not be the person directly enacting deafening, silencing violence on a person because she had the wherewithal to be black, female, excellent, and in a film that you didn’t care for.
You might not be the harassers, but your words have caused harm. Constant, consistent harm. There are people in this world who saw women on screen and felt like the world was a little bit more for them than it was before. And then they saw what you read. How you poisoned that filming. This is monstrous, and you need to just stop it.
You cheered when the film didn’t make money. You wept with joy when you maintained order and snuffed out the light of people trying to make the world a more friendly place.
I am not trying to reason with you. I am not looking to be engaged with you. I am angry, and you have been awful, and this has to stop, and this has to stop now.
After I write this, and it is edited, this piece will be published, and a few days after that, it will be rife with your anger, your bile, your evil. You will have proven my point. Congratulations. Celebrate your righteous anger!