Think “Jurassic World” is sexist? Let me tell you why you’re wrong.
There is a lot of fuss about sexist elements that supposedly exist within Jurassic World. While the many continually point the finger, I think that they don’t know what they’re pointing their fingers at. Let me point the finger at why these accusations are nothing more than an attempt to stir controversy.
Chris Pratt’s (Owen) chauvinistic behavior towards Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire)
Let’s start with the scene that started it all. This exchange between Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt sparked controversy to an extent where even Joss Whedon got involved. While I admit that chauvinism is definitely present in this scene, I think that this has been entirely blown out of proportion due to Whedon’s involvement and today’s “point the finger” culture.
Was the scene a a little sexist? It could be taken that way, yes. Was Director Colin Trevorrow sexist for including this scene? No he was not. I don’t know Tervorrow’s views outside of the film, but there is an apparent need for this scene that establishes Chris Pratt’s character and ties into significant moments throughout “Jurassic World.”
Owen’s (Chris Pratt) relationship with the raptors is one of the most significant elements of the film. It’s continually said throughout that Owen established a relationship with the raptors to make them accept him as their “alpha.” To establish Owen as a viable “alpha” it’s both common sense and logical that Chris Pratt’s character is portrayed as an alpha male. What does that mean? Well it means that he’s going to have a very dominant personality (which he does) and when it comes to interactions with women, the alpha male personality can easily be misconstrued as chauvinistic or sexist.
No one was trying to make a statement regarding sexism by including this scene, but they were definitely establishing dominance. If you watch Owen’s interaction with his boss Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), he even establishes himself as the authoritative figure when disregarding Hoskins’ orders. As for the interaction with Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), that same dominance/anti-authority personality is present. Outside of the dominance, the rest of the conversation banter comes from a difference in personalities. Claire and Owen are extreme opposites so of course conflict will arise. It has nothing to do with gender, it’s just a matter of personalities.
Without Owen’s alpha male personality, his role among the raptors would be totally unjustifiable. To be accepted by a predatorial, aggressive creature, Pratt must embody those same traits when playing the role of Owen. If he were to show a submissive side in any way, he would be seen as a beta to the raptors. The traits of his character clearly stem from animalistic traits of nature not sexism.
Bryce Dallas Howard’s (Claire) journey to “redemption.”
The other argument towards “Jurassic World” is the sexist stereotype laid upon Bryce Dallas Howard’s character Claire. Once again, this is another loaded claim and in fact sexist in itself to not recognize her relation to a few other “Jurassic Park” characters. The most sexist thing that I’ve heard has come from those pointing the finger at sexism. Over at Refinery 29 they compare Claire to “Jurassic Park’s” Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) citing differences between the two. So it’s okay to chastise someone for “stereotyping” yet it’s okay to establish a stereotype to follow?
As someone who grew up wanting to be Dern’s no-nonsense Dr. Sattler — a woman who could take on velociraptors, deny the advances Jeff Goldblum, and pull off khaki shorts — I was excited by the idea that a new generation of female moviegoers would have their own dino-butt-kicking badass. But in Jurassic World, the “dinosaurs eat man; woman inherits the earth” school of thought is all but extinct.
I loved Ellie Sattler but that’s not Claire and nor should it be. Claire is taken from a mix of both Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and John Hammond (Richard Attenborough). Her white suit and business persona obviously come from Hammond and her workaholic, anti-social mentality obviously come from Dr. Alan Grant. She’s successful, powerful, and her character carries the traits of two prominent male figures from “Jurassic Park.” How sexist can it be when they’re showing that a woman can play the same role as two male counterparts? Sounds like equality to me.
Oh but wait. Her redemption moment comes from her establishing a sort of parental relationship with the children she was emotionally disconnected to in the beginning…that’s sexist! Wrong! Who was it in “Jurassic Park” that had that awkward and distanced relationship with John Hammond’s kids? Oh that’s right, it was only the star of the entire film, Dr. Alan Grant. So why is it okay for Dr. Grant to establish a parental bond to children yet Claire’s bond is seen as sexist? The answer is, it’s not. They took a man’s role and turned it into a woman’s role. She even takes on a T-Rex with a flare just like Alan Grant, you don’t get much more badass than that.
Does sexism exist in Hollywood? Sure it does. When Marvel shunned Black Widow by leaving her out of apparel, toys, and other merchandise, that was an apparent act of sexism. When someone plays a character that takes on certain personality traits to establish their role, that’s called acting. If you look for something hard enough, you’ll always find it and a lot of times people seem to look for these elements to feed their self righteous attitude and get noticed for establishing controversy. To attack a character role is absolutely ridiculous. By that logic people should be be picketing Matthew Weiner’s house for creating “Mad Men.”
Prejudice and inequality should not be ignored but it’s obviously not present in “Jurassic World” if you look at “Jurassic Park” as a precedence for establishing the film. One person’s misguided perspective when pointing the finger can be damaging to someone by mislabeling them as something they are not. When you’ve done your research and thoroughly examined your claim, then you may make accusations. But being so trigger happy to point the finger at “ghosts” does not help the cause and instead enforces unnecessary censorship.