The math of ‘Lady Ghostbusters’

While the original “Ghostbusters” was a fine film, full of funny jokes, scary spooks and good cheer, all the Ghostbusters were men. Not only is this problematic, it’s math problematic.

As we see, men and unfairness share an identity relationship most of the time:

3 white male Ghostbusters (wmGs) (x) 1 movie = 1 unfairness

2 wmGs (x) 1 movie = 1 unfairness


4 male Ghostbusters (x) 1 movie = 3/4 unfairness, where one of the male Ghostbusters is black.

The identity property of addition also applies most of the time. Observe:

3 wmGs + 1 lady secretary = 1 unfairness

4 wmGs + 1 lady secretary = 1 unfairness, where the fourth male Ghostbuster is a white nerd, as in “Ghostbusters 2.”

Additionally, we note that:

4 wmGs + 1 black male Ghostbuster (bmG) + 1 lady secretary = 4/5 unfairness

A corollary:

3 wmGs + 1 bmG + 1 lady secretary = 2/3 unfairness

Paul Feig, director of the remake “Lady Ghostbusters,” has made progress. Unfairnesses must be zeroed out prima facie. Feig reasons:

3 white lady Ghostbusters (wlGs) (x) 1 movie = 1/4 unfairness


[3 wlGs + 1 black lady Ghostbuster (blG)] (x) 1 movie = 1/5 unfairness

As we see, Feig’s calculations bend the movie curve closer to zero. It’s important work, and can serve as a foundation for future theorists.


  • Running Bear, Skye. Calculus for Pussies. New York: Better Math Press, 2004.
  • Jensen, Randy. 2+2=Gaza: New Theories in Elementary Addition. San Francisco: DumDum Books, 1992.
  • Farthwirth, Jenna. Think Again: You Heard Me! Portland: Grrl, 2007.

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