YouTube comment sections are rarely confused for The New Yorker. They are frequently hotbeds of simplistic discourse, knee-jerk reactions and flat-out rudeness. So while there are a lot of thoughtful and perfectly nice YouTube commenters out there, the emergence of a trailer for the Ghostbusters reboot – a film that updates the original’s all-male cast with an all-female cast – was probably bound to bring out a lot of negativity, particularly in a poster-Gamergate environment in which attitudes towards women, feminism and gender equality have regressed (or worse, revealed themselves to be as regressive as ever).
But scanning the actual YouTube comments for the Ghostbusters trailer is enough to make your heart sink. Because between the optimistic and cautiously optimistic comments, and flanking the technical criticisms (the trailer inaccurately claims that all four of the original Ghostbusters were scientists), reasonable diversity concerns (the only character of color is the only character who isn’t a scientist) and some hard-to-argue subjectivity (people laugh at different things sometimes), there is still a LOT of sexism out there.
Simply put, if you think the trailer doesn’t look good, that’s 100% fair. There are a lot of bad movies out there, and this could very well turn out to be one of them, and for any number of reasons. But if Ghostbusters turns out bad it’s not going to be because women are inherently inferior to men, because that’s a ludicrous concept, and it’s not going to be because men are suddenly getting marginalized in the entertainment industry. There is a difference between being marginalized and not having every single piece of entertainment made specifically for you, all of the time.
We’ve compiled some of the lowlights from the YouTube reactions on the Ghostbusters trailer page, just to give you some idea the ugliness out there. We have removed the commenters’ names because the point isn’t to put a specific individual under the microscope, it’s to raise awareness of a general attitude that simply isn’t getting any of us anywhere.
Fair warning: some of these comments could definitely piss you off, some of them are NSFW, and none of them are pleasant.