What is wrong with Chris Hemsworth? I pay good money to watch a movie about four smart, independent and funny women who catch ghosts on a Saturday night, yet I still ended up staring at his biceps for most of the film. In between the witty banter and the ghost-related humor, I found myself forgiving every single dumb thing that Hemsworth does throughout the movie — from his inability to answer the phone, his ridiculous accident-proneness, to naming his dog Mike Hat (which sounds a lot like “my cat”). The list of offenses is long, but again, here’s what I have to say to that: Who cares? He’s the star of the show, as far as I’m concerned.
And this, people, is what most men feel when watching movies.
There’s a hackneyed trope when it comes to most female characters, whereby beautiful women in film or TV are often portrayed as ultra-sexy, two-dimensional and bland. And if we want our gal to have a bit of “personality” — maybe she has a degree from Stanford or she can kick your ass with kung fu — we mustn’t forget that she has to attain or perform these things while wearing a tight tank top. That is nothing new. This is how women are often portrayed through the male gaze, because it seems that in order for a female character to be compelling in any way, she has to appeal to a man’s baser instincts.
It’s a beautiful thing to see a film like Ghostbusters turn the tables on this trope, because it already raised eyebrows by proposing a revolutionary idea — that women can take top billing in a supernatural comedy with no romantic element. It’s delicious to watch men on the Internet lose their marbles over this very idea, like a movie can somehow erode patriarchy’s firm place in the world. (Can it? We hope so.) It’s rare to see a film that makes men question themselves. And they have every right to worry, because it’s not a fun position to be in. Just ask any woman who has ever watched a movie.
There’s a wonderful sense of comeuppance in seeing Hemsworth act out what every girl has been rolling their eyes at for as long as we’ve been watching movies. Hemsworth’s ditzy, two-dimensional, hyper-sexualized receptionist character is exactly how most women are portrayed in a male-driven narrative. To see that sort of mockery played without a hint of discretion — almost as though he’s a walking neon sign in every scene — feels like a victory for every girl out there who has ever wondered if she’ll amount to nothing more than a comedic trope.
Personally, I loved watching Ghostbusters, because it’s funny and clever, and because for the first time in a long time, I felt represented. But more than that, I loved it because of how it gave me a sense of control as a girl, to see the kind of power women have, given the chance. They can make good movies, and imagine these rich characters, and make fun of the patriarchy that keeps ruining their hair every damn morning. It’s clear in the way they got an A-list actor to become the butt of a politically and culturally relevant joke. It may not be a woman up on the screen, but Chris Hemsworth and his blonde bimbo persona in Ghostbusters answers the question of who run da world. Girls, of course.