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Jurassic World is sexist and here are the reasons why


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Jurassic World is sexist. It pains me to write this, but I believe it’s true.

Jurassic World

A very good thing has happened over the last few years: we have become more attune to misogyny and less forgiving of attitudes that attempt to hinder society’s journey towards gender equality.

The latest battering-ram against feminism is the colossal mega-blockbuster Jurassic World, which has already become one of the most successful movies ever made.

Even the director has admitted there are problems (though only within the context of a clip Universal released to drum up excitement) and others have spoken out including, perhaps most controversially, Avengers director Joss Whedon. So let’s have a look at why Jurassic World takes Hollywood a step back to the dark old days.

Problem 1: The Dangerous Career Woman Who Refuses To Breed


Bryce Dallas Howard plays Claire. Claire runs Jurassic World. And Claire has a problem: she’s unmarried, with no boyfriend, with no kids and she’s career-obsessed. How dare she? How dare she decide she wants to focus her life on her career and not on raising children? All women are supposed to love kids, right? How dare she make a personal choice about her life plans and be in charge of her own body? This is all totally crazy, so Claire is consistently demonised for not being good with kids (she isn’t close to her nephews, for example) or for not wanting to have them in the future. So, the moral of the story is, if women rise too far to the top THE HUMAN RACE WILL BECOME AS INSTINCT AS THE DINOSAURS. Go figure.

Problem 2: The Dangerous Career Woman Is Too Busy To Look After Her Nephews


Because she runs an enormous theme park involving genetically modified creatures, Claire is very busy. She instead delegates the looking after of her nephews on the first day of their visit to an assistant who takes them around the park whilst Claire finishes her work for the day. Whilst it may have been better for Claire to make sure she was available when her nephews arrive, bad stuff happens and she has to deal with it because she is the boss. Ok, right? Wrong. This is another sign Claire is a rare breed of women who DON’T CONFORM TO A MOTHERLY STEREOTYPE, so both she, her nephews and (most horrifically) the assistant are punished for this. In fact, the death of the assistant is one of the most extended and disturbing scenes of violence in the entire film. She is flung into the air and dragged into the water repeatedly by dinosaurs whilst screaming and then crunchily eaten. In case we didn’t get the message, it’s bad she existed in the first place.  

Problem 3: The Dangerous Career Woman is Also A Control Freak Who Just Needs A Man


Enter Chris Pratt as Owen, a kind of Indiana Jones-style dinosaur trainer who loves life and does so-called manly stuff like ride bikes and talk to Raptors. He tried to date Claire but she was too control-freaky to deal with. So he’s brought in to tame her, essentially, like he tries to do with his dinosaurs. He teaches her to be submissive, do what she’s told and makes jokes about her wearing high heels. He even suggests she sexually pleasures him in return for helping her out of a difficult situation. What a guy, eh? Other highlights include him joking about dinosaurs wanting to have sex and him bonding with her nephews because he knows how to shoot things and she’s not great in a crisis.

Problem 4: When The Dangerous Career Women Succeeds, We Have To Laugh At Her


Claire does learn not to be such a control-freaky-career-woman-in-high-heels and shoots a few dinosaurs and drives a van. Whenever she does this there is a pause in the action where we are invited to laugh at the fact she has done something so out of character. Poor woman. Even when she tries to battle against the rigid gender stereotype she has been prescribed, the results are used as moments of humour (usually instigated by the reaction of Owen and her nephews).

Problem 5: Divorce Is Evil


This particular problem isn’t directly related to the sexism in the film, but it does contribute to the conservative agenda Jurassic World peddles as a whole. At the start we see the nephew’s parents acting distantly towards each other. Later on, the younger boy is extremely upset about their impending divorce. Yes, kids find divorce stressful and upsetting. Nobody should pretend otherwise. But this is the second massive blockbuster this summer to problematise divorce to a strange and suspicious extent (San Andreas is the other guilty party). Divorce can be a bad time for everyone. But you know what else can be bad? Mum and Dad suffering a loveless marriage simply because Spielberg and his band of right-wingers deny them the chance to separate. Alternative family models are consistently demonised in contemporary entertainment. It’s time Hollywood learned that not all families have to be Mum, Dad, kids, a dog, a car and happiness forever. Sometimes happiness can come from compromise.

Problem 6: And Finally, The Dangerous Career Woman Is Tamed In the End


Claire doesn’t get away with being a childless, independent career woman. The man tames her. He teaches her how to relax, leave her job, abandon corporate responsibility and settle for romance. Because that’s what all women want, right? They just want an adventurous hunk with a nice jaw-line and muscles to scoop them up and take them away from the careers they have built up for themselves. Because having driven, dedicated women in the workplace is not a good recipe for happiness. They need to be at home with the kids. Of course, this is all utterly preposterous. Yes, some women stay at home and have kids. That’s fine. But just because they make those choices, it doesn’t mean all women have to follow the same path.

In Conclusion 

Jurassic World isn’t the only guilty party when it comes to poor portrayals of women. But it is rather depressing when a 2015 sequel to a 1993 action movie is less progressive and more rigidly conservative than its 22 year old predecessor.

Instead of daring to defy gender archetypes and other damaging stereotypes so often paraded out in the name of entertainment, Jurassic World reinforces them. There will be people who accuse those who call out this movie’s sexism of ‘reading too much into it’ and that ‘it’s just a bit of fun’. They will say ‘lighten up’ and pretend (or worse, truly believe) there’s no harm in portraying women this way onscreen.

The day these people’s voices become the loudest and others decide not to speak up against them will be a very sad day for feminism. Things can get better. We just have to be vocal when we notice them getting worse.    

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