From left, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones appear in a scene from, "Ghostbusters." (Sony Pictures via AP/AP)
Columnist

It’s not that they hate women, some of the haters will argue.

Because when women stick to the hater-approved roles — mother, nurse, beauty queen, schoolteacher, model — the misogynists love them.

“I cherish women,” Donald Trump insisted, after trashing Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly and alluding to her menstrual cycle when she pan-seared him during a debate.

What really sets off the haters is when women do things that men have traditionally done: Firefighter, sportswriter, Army Ranger, video game designer, commander in chief. Even a made-up occupation — Ghostbuster — is apparently off limits to women.

Yup, turns out that this weekend’s opening of the Ghostbuster’s movie reboot has turned into a ridiculous, gender-charged standoff.

From left, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson in the 1984 version of the movie. (Columbia Pictures/Alamy/Alamy Stock Photo)

The haters vow that they’re not going to spend a dime or a minute on the update of their beloved movie, sullied by female leads. Feminists are calling on all women to head to the box office this weekend and get their ectoplasmic ooze on to support women’s rights.

It sounds silly. But it speaks to much larger issues.

The outrage over Ghostbusters began last year when it was announced that the four ghoul hunters in the remake of the goofy and clever 1984 movie would be women. Dudes in the bro-verse went ape. “Now they wanna ruin Ghostbusters with women?” they demanded.

Some of the notoriously hateful misogynist sites actively enlisted men to attack the trailer when it came out, simply to tear down a movie they hadn’t even seen.

What made it even worse for the men who felt their childhood attachment to Bill Murray threatened was the fact that the four new Ghostbusters are talented, smart comedians. And not the Victoria’s Secret angels.

Lingerie models might’ve been okay, in the bro-verse. Especially if they didn’t say anything.

Because remember, women accounted for only 30 percent of speaking roles in the top 100 films of 2013, according to “It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World” survey by Martha M. Lauzen, executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.

That study also showed women were protagonists in only 15 percent of the movies. Hmm. Sounds a bit like the Hollywood of the East: Washington. Women make up less than 20 percent of Congress. And Hillary Clinton has come under relentless attack, in part, because the idea of a woman in the White House is something too much of America still can’t deal with.

How else to explain the insulting Hillary nutcracker for sale at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport? Or the Maryland deli that advertised a blatantly sexist Hillary chicken special, promising “2 small breasts with 2 large thighs.” Or the in­cred­ibly offensive T-shirts being worn by Trump supporters that read “TRUMP THAT B----!”

Women have headed governments in Angola, Argentina and Australia. Canada, Costa Rica and Denmark. Ethi­o­pia, India and Ireland. (I’m skipping a bunch.) Liberia, Malawi and New Caledonia. (Should we do the whole alphabet?) Norway, Pakistan and Peru. (Had enough?)

One more: Zululand.

Oh, and just this week, even stodgy old Great Britain was able to put another woman in charge of its government.

But it’s not just women running for office who find themselves under attack in our country. Women in firehouses often endure startling sexual harassment, as we discovered after Fairfax County firefighter Nicole Mittendorff killed herself earlier this year.

The online abuse that she endured isn’t unusual. Women in firehouses across the country have filed discrimination lawsuits, alleging that they were sexually threatened, found urine in their shampoo, semen squirted on their bunks, holes cut into their clothing and screws loosened on their masks.

How dare they prove that they can do the same work as men?

When three women graduated from the Army’s grueling Ranger school, there was an immediate campaign accusing the military of lowering its standards for the test. (They didn’t.)

And when women become strong voices in sportswriting, the hate mail they get doesn’t just challenge them on assessments of plays, passes and strikes. They get emails and tweets that threaten rape and violence, that make graphic mention of body parts, looks and sex.

So let’s get back to “Ghostbusters.” It’s a movie. A silly movie. And most critics — including the men — are saying it’s a pretty good summer romp.

Let’s applaud the women starring in it loudly enough to drown out the haters, who are so blinded by their own sexism that they can’t acknowledge effective ghostbusting unless it’s being done by men.

Twitter: @petulad