STEM Media

Ghostbusters 2016 NOT A Bust

So, you don’t believe in ghosts. You don’t believe in creaking doors, objects that fall over by themselves, or any sort of paranormal activity point-blank, period. Well, I don’t either, and I just saw the least scary, most hilarious ghost-related movie I have ever watched. It’s called Ghostbusters; no, not your original four knights in jumpsuit armor from the 80s. I’m talking about the new and I think, improved Ghostbusters that came out in theaters this summer 2016.  This movie is something worth stretching the imagination for and it’s less than two hours. Even better, this team of female ghost fighters are scientists, well, three out of four of them! This movie highlights three things for me: 1) Women in STEM, 2) The position of African-Americans in STEM, and 3) How STEM and a little faith ends up saving the world!

1)  Women in STEM is a common topic these days, but it’s a real thing to pay attention to! NC State even has a webpage about Enhancing Research on Women in STEM. In the movie, “Erin Gilbert” (played by Kristen Wiig) is up for tenure at her university in the field of physics. Even the smallest mess-up (including a book she co-wrote about paranormal activity) could ruin her chances of tenure, showing the fragility of a woman being able to reach such a status in a STEM field. This leads to her meeting two other scientists interested in the paranormal, who later are joined by another lady who is not a scientist but knows the city of New York and its history very well.

  This movie could really be viewed as being about women empowerment. Though these ladies sound strange using scientific terms and though the city’s government wants to discredit their work, they still manage to save the day and an entire city from ghosts. Sound familiar? The movie even has the character “Kevin” (played by Chris Hemsworth), who juxtaposes the women by being the handsome but not-so-intelligent receptionist for the team, getting a job he is nowhere near qualified for and in the end being insensitive and taking credit for incredible tasks that he did not perform. Once again, sound familiar? At one point in the movie, Kevin says, “Ahh women, always late…” Well ladies, you may be late to the STEM scene, but keep setting the stage on fire!

2)  This movie features African American comedian, Leslie Jones, as “Patty”, the only non-scientist member of the Ghostbusters team. We first see Patty working in the subway station, being unacknowledged by passers-by and later disrespected by a graffiti artist. And when she shows up to the Ghostbusters’ office for the first time, they think she must be in the wrong place. She is dropped by a crowd of fans at a rock concert, loses one of her weapons in the end of the movie, and seems to be on the receiving end of many of the movie’s hardships. However, she is not “the butt” of all jokes or the victim often made fun of. Patty maintains who she is and stays true to it, even down to the earrings. Degree in science or no degree in science, Patty’s role in the movie subtly reflects the role of other African Americans, particularly females, in America. And one of those main roles, is that they are a minority in the STEM field.

3)  The computer-generated imagery used in this movie made it exciting to watch. Just the fact that this movie incorporates the importance of testing theories and the scientific method is great! The machines they use are effective and undeniably innovative, once again demonstrating the importance of applying creative genius to technical intelligence. If STEM tactics can defeat ghosts and stop an apocalypse in its tracks, imagine what it can do for the real world!

I went into this movie questioning how I even agreed to come to the theater but I was one of the last people to leave because even the credits were good to me. Little things like interesting credits really made the movie enjoyable. I don’t know what you will think of the movie, but I definitely encourage that you watch it for yourself. For those of you who are not a fan of ghosts, this may be one movie about the paranormal that you can handle. I think I’ll go watch the original now!

This piece comes to us from one of our talented content contributors, Cynthia Sharpe. Her bio is below and if you would like to work with us you can email us here!

Cynthia M. Sharpe, is a May 2015 graduate of NC State University. Cynthia graduated with a B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing and currently aspires to pursue an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. “As I let my own light shine, I unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” -Cynthia M. Sharpe, inspired by Marianne Williamson

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