For women trapped in the heat dome of summer and the misery of the news cycle, the all-lady Ghostbusters reboot is a revelation. As I watched it in the blissfully cold movie theater, I reveled in its lack of romantic subplot. (The climactic emotional scene is between two besties.) I also noticed that it featured no comments or gratuitous shots of women’s bodies — even the cast members of traditionally acceptable Hollywood size spent most of the movie in baggy coveralls. There were no pointless catfights between the female characters. They were the heros who, at the end of the day, saved a city from male destruction and incompetence. It was heaven.
It got me wondering what would happen if other cultural and political institutions were remade to be 100-percent female. I let my imagination run wild with the possibilities of gender reversal — because if an all-woman reboot of an ‘80s comedy is enough to enrage every trollish man on the internet, we’re not aiming high enough.
The Vatican. With this gender flip, the Catholic Church has gone from an organization in total denial about people’s sex lives and family structures to a compassionate global force for justice and equality. Now led by a cabal of respected but mysterious women, the Church has finally dealt with its legacy of sexual abuse by replacing all parish priests with dissident nuns. Talk about a crusade!
The Supreme Court. Just take the existing female justices and multiply by three. RBG is not notorious — she’s the norm. They are very into separating church and state, protecting civil rights, and speaking up during oral arguments. Bliss.
The Beatles. The all-female Beatles (who are never referred to as the Sheatles), are considered to be among the most important pop music act of all time. They inspired global mania with their catchy songs. Just try not to whistle along with “You better run for your life if you can, little boy. Hide your head in the sand, little boy. Catch you writing misogynistic lyrics again, that’s the end, little boy.” The group appeared to be on the verge of a breakup when one of its lead members began a passionate relationship with a brilliant Japanese artist, until all members realized that Yoko was a fucking genius and should simply be invited to join. It turned out to be the right decision: They made some of their most influential music after that.
Reddit. The so-called “front page of the internet” still has a lot of weird GIFs and interesting AMAs, and its darkest corners remain a cesspool (r/periodblood and r/castrationmemes are particularly graphic). But overall, it’s slightly less angry.
Entourage. They’re just four ladies busting each other’s ovaries, living that Hollywood life to the max, and adjusting to Tinseltown’s cutthroat dealmaking. The good-looking star at the center of their universe, Vicki, is their ticket to parties with the hottest men — but she’s also annoyingly self-centered. It’s sort of like Sex and the City, but with more ill-advised fedoras and less angsty internalized sexism.
Late-night television. The female hosts of every single late-night show are hilarious, and have finally banished the genre’s reputation for milquetoast jokes about current events and mindless chatter with celebrities promoting their latest film. Female actors, freed from the burden of flirting with the show’s host, have begun using the late-night platform to advance their political beliefs and agendas. Each show’s house band is led by a woman, but features a token male bassist just to keep things equitable.
Freemasons. Ever wonder who’s bankrolling the development of a male birth-control pill? Leaking information about the sexually predatory tendencies of powerful men? Dropping abortion supplies into anti-choice countries via drone? Wearing really, really chic flowing garments? That’s right, it’s the all-female Freemasons.
The NFL. The players, coaches, and owners of the all-lady NFL refuse to run the risk of traumatic brain injury. Now the “Football” in NFL stands for football in the global sense, and the league has merged with the National Women’s Soccer League.
Silicon Valley. With women as 93 percent of partners at venture-capital firms, it’s become difficult for startups to get funding for apps that offer on-demand services to pick up your socks and pour you a bowl of cereal in the morning. But the funds are freely flowing to companies making digital tools to support working parents, document abuses of power, create the Menstrual Sponge of the Future, and use VR to close the wage gap. Yet, strangely, no one brags about “changing the world” anymore.
Wall Street. Male traders, outnumbered and struggling to fit in with the girls, face pressure to switch their drink order to rosé and make small talk about The Bachelor. They still attend the firm-sponsored trips to the spa where important out-of-office networking takes place, but unfortunately they are cut off from most of the action due to gender segregation in the baths.
The White House. As my good friend Aminatou Sow has pointed out, “woman president is the ultimate reboot.”