Let me preface this article by saying that when I refer to a “goddess” in this text, I am using it in the broadest sense to basically describe a super kick-ass woman. This character represents my idea of a supreme modern-day goddess. And one that I aspire to be on a daily basis.
I was born in 1979 and therefore grew up absorbing 80’s popular culture. Which is, in my opinion, the most superior decade for popular culture ever. However, I understand that many of you might not know who I’m referring to when I say Dana Barrett.
Dana Barrett is Sigourney Weaver’s character in the original Ghostbusters (1984) movie—which, as another aside, is my all-time favorite movie, ever. She is the female leading role and is Bill Murray’s love interest. This character is an incredibly underrated heroine. And even though the 80’s decade is far from modern-day, I believe Dana is timeless. And I would just like to give her the love, the props, and the recognition that I believe she deserves.
Film still from Ghostbusters (1984). Dana Barrett when she is possessed by Zuul. How can you not love that make-up job?!
Dana is a single gal living in New York City. She is a professional cellist and lives in a high-rise apartment on Central Park West in the Upper West Side (this is the only part of her character that doesn’t really apply to most Goddess Attainable’s in terms of financial realities, but I don’t think her monetary circumstances remotely affect her level of goddess-ness, so please overlook).
Dana is a no-nonsense woman with an unmistakable inner confidence that seamlessly aligns with her outward poise and collected demeanor. Her neighbor Louis, played by Rick Moranis, is madly infatuated with her and is constantly attempting to infiltrate her personal space in a very endearing and harmless, albeit disturbing, kind of way. And after all of these years, I am still always fascinated by her ability to maintain a perfect balance between annoyance and compassion when it comes to her interactions with him. This woman has healthy boundaries—one of the ultimate characteristics of a modern-day goddess. She’s doing her own thing, and can’t really be bothered with this little guy. And yet, she’s not a jerk about it. And always maintains an attitude of kindness towards him, even though she literally has to close the door in his face to get rid of him.
SINGLE IN THE CITY
In addition, Dana has also mastered another challenging balance between living alone and having a very rich and fulfilling life. She has relationships but also relishes her alone time.
Many of us single gals (or even those of us in relationships) can’t stand to be alone, and obsessively fill our time with activities and superficial relationships, just to avoid being quiet with ourselves. The rest of us tend to do the opposite and sink into isolation, finding comfort within our own limiting spaces, rarely venturing out of our safe little social boxes. It’s a tough challenge I know; which is why some of my favorite scenes throughout this film, are the scenes where she is performing mundane tasks like happily chopping vegetables in her kitchen, answering the phone to have a conversation with her mom, re-stringing her cello in her bathrobe, and carrying groceries out of the elevator as she politely nods to her neighbor.
She’s got it going on. This modern-day goddess is happy with herself, able to take care of herself, and still she’s carved out a seemingly fulfilling life that is brimming with things that are inspiring and fun. Basically, she’s a pretty happy camper until she gets possessed by a dog from another realm. Which has nothing to do with what I’m talking about, so I’ll keep moving forward.
GODDESSES AND MEN
Finally, in general, goddesses are desirable creatures. And Dana’s goddess-ness is made clear throughout the entire movie, by how many men seem to be in love with her. That’s not to say that women need people to be in love with them in order to be considered a goddess, or desirable. I’m pretty sure no man is in love with me at the moment. And yet, I believe that I possess a fair amount of desirability and goddess-esque qualities. So, the two concepts are not mutually exclusive, but in general, kind of go hand in hand.
As for Dana, she has all kinds of men in love with her. She has her sweet, geeky neighbor Louis, and her fellow accomplished cellist who she ultimately ditches for Mr. Ghostbuster himself, Pete Venkman. Pete, played by Bill Murray, is beyond bonkers for Dana, and to observe their chemistry together is really incredible. Actors either have great chemistry together or they don’t. And these two kids are on fire throughout the entire film. So, Dana has at least three men in love with her. And she seems to take all of them in stride. She’s focused on her life, her cello, her health, her happiness, and these men show up and just want to be around her. She’s confident, relaxed in her life and with herself, and doesn’t put up with any bologna. Ever. And she’s not trying to make men fall in love with her. They just do.
Film still from Ghostbusters (1984). Dana letting her guard down to be charmed by Pete Venkman (Bill Murray).
I think this character is so perfect for the modern-day goddess because she is so accessible and still so uniquely beautiful. She’s quite impeccable and yet she is still very real. The casting choice of Sigourney Weaver was so perfect and I wouldn’t want to imagine this character being played by anyone but her. As an aside, when I moved to New York City in 2007, Sigourney Weaver was my FIRST celebrity spotting. And that moment just tied together my love for 80’s New York, my love for this film, and my admiration for this character. Thank you, Universe, for that lovely “Welcome To New York” gift.
In conclusion, if you are a modern-day goddess in the making like me, and are always searching to connect with other goddesses, are always striving to find that perfect womanly balance (that for me at times is even difficult to know what that might look and feel like), and if you are in the mood to be inspired by a modern-day goddess, watch Ghostbusters the next chance you get. And fall in love the way I did with this unassuming, yet exceptionally divine modern-day goddess, the unsurpassed Dana Barrett.
R.I.P. Harold Ramis.
Left: Sigourney Weaver (photo credit unknown). Right: Film still from Ghostbusters (1984).