Female Body Image in Ghostbusters (2016)

There has been a lot of conversation on Twitter and Facebook about the new Ghostbusters. Some good, some bad, some in between. The one thing that I have seen being praised is the way the women in this movie are represented.

Hint: they don’t talk about their body image.

How many times have you seen an “overweight” woman in a film have her weight referenced in a joke? My guess is too many to count. However, in Ghostbusters, there is zero mention of weight. Leslie Jones and Melissa McCarthy are both considered to be big for American woman (although that standard is ridiculous to begin with, don’t even get me started). The two women are made fun of and teased for other things, such as their attitude or behavior, but not one time is their size teased. There was not a single fat joke used in the film.

These women are seen eating food, but not in a way that draws attention to their diet or eating habits. They are simply shown as people who require food. None of them spoke about maintaining their figure, or being afraid of gaining weight.

There were also no jokes at the skinnier characters about not eating, or being too thin. Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon were on the same level as Leslie Jones and Melissa McCarthy. One was not treated “sexier” than the other, or more appealing than the other. There were no snarky comments made about body weight, at all. The only things mocked slightly were fashion choices, such as the bow tie Wiig was wearing.

It was amazing to see a movie that refused to body shame women, regardless of their figure. A little girl can watch this film and feel good about herself, no matter what she looks like. A Ghostbuster can be anyone, no matter their sex or size.

Let it sink in that this is how low expectations are for women in film. I’m getting excited because no woman was called fat, and they were shown eating food. This proves that representation is an issue, and it matters.

Women love seeing women presented as normal human beings.

Who would have thought?

-B

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