Last weekend, after a vicious internet smear campaign by angry fanboys, the all-female Ghostbusters reboot arrived in theaters. While the film was by no means a runaway success, it did enjoy a solid opening weekend bringing in roughly $46 M. I saw the film opening night. Since then, I’ve seen it twice more – and I’m trying to figure out who I can drag along with me later this week to see it again.
Reviewers and fans immediately recognized Kate McKinnon’s Jillian Holtzmann as the runaway fan favorite. Holtzmann is gloriously and unapologetically weird. She is the nerdy genius in charge of developing all of the women’s ghost-wrangling equipment. It’s refreshing to see a female character so completely accepting of and confident in herself – and so unconcerned with the opinions of men.
This is what they call a ‘queer awakening’
As soon as the film premiered, the internet started chattering about Holtzmann’s sexuality. When director Paul Feig was asked about it, his vague non-answer was less than satisfying for fans wanting a definitive answer. However, I don’t need a director to confirm to me that Holtzmann is queer. I’ve known since fifteen seconds into her first scene. The moment that she came into focus with her flirtatious “Come her often?” her sexuality was perfectly clear. If you need any confirmation, just watch the way that she sizes Erin up in their first scene together. If you’re still not sure, ask any queer woman with a pulse. Seriously.
It’s not a matter of subtext. Jillian Holtzmann is as queer as the day is long. But by no means is her sexuality the most interesting or important aspect of her personality. She’s an inventor – a bit of a mad scientist; a loyal and trusting friend; funny as hell; and arguably the smartest person in the room.
It is worth noting that Kate McKinnon herself identifies as a lesbian and brings a genuine effortlessness to Holtzmann’s sexuality that is often lacking when straight actresses portray LGBT+ characters. Queer women portraying queer characters is a beautiful thing that the world needs more of.
Sorry fanboys, I hate to point it out, but the Ghostbusters fandom is full of queer women who identify with Holtzmann. She’s ours. She was never created for you.
Jillian Holtzmann is everything that the science-fiction genre desperately needs: queer, geeky women who unapologetically embrace everything about themselves.