I’m not sure if I’ll see Jurassic World but if I do, it will likely be for the reasons summed up by New York Post film critic Kyle Smith:
Motorcycle, Chris Pratt, sprinting dinosaurs: If you require more than that out of a movie, you’re being unreasonable.
But unreasonable is, sadly, a very good way to describe progressive thinking these days. A perfect example comes from The Daily Beast’s Marlow Stern, an entertainment editor and writer with a masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Apparently what he learned there was to regurgitate the worst of campus groupthink. His review of Jurassic World is headlined “‘Jurassic World’: A Big, Dumb, Sexist Mess.”
He laments that Jurassic World is “not about corporate greed, anti-militarization, crass commerciality, disrupting the food chain,” etc., but “about a woman’s ‘evolution’ from an icy-cold, selfish corporate shill into a considerate wife and mother.” Of all the things I will never understand about progressives, their love for capitalistic careers over actual human bonding and decency is way up there.
You know that old saw about nobody on their deathbed has ever said “I wish I had spent more time at the office”? I think that might not be true. I think progressives might say that at their deathbeds that have no family around them because they spent all that time at the office.
Anywho, Stern remarks that he was hoping for a Proustian revisit of Jurassic Park instead of what he got in Jurassic World. But his memory for the plot of that film is jacked. He says of “World” that Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), the park operations manager, is the main character and that “Claire is so careerist, unfeeling, and apparently ‘unmaternal’ that she clacks her heels around barking orders in bangs and a white pantsuit, and when her two young nephews arrive on the scene, she’s so buried in her work mobile that she shoos them away.” Spoiler alert: She grows to care for her nephews. Later, Stern opines, “Jurassic Park didn’t have any of this gendered nonsense—and it was made back in 1993.”
Um, other than the idiocy of a grown person using the newspeaky word “gendered” in a non-jokey way, how could Stern forget the quite similar character arc in “Park”? In that movie, the character who went from work obsessive to person who cares about children was Dr. Alan Grant, played by Sam Neill. (Speaking of Neill, have you seen Peaky Blinders? He’s got such a compelling role in that.) Anyway, back to Jurassic Park, based on the novel of the same name by Michael Crichton:
The film portrays a very different personality than that of the novel. In the films, Dr. Grant has an introverted personality and does not like children. Throughout the course of the first film, however, he warms to the two children accompanying him, Tim and Lex. This was done because Spielberg wanted to “provide a source of dramatic tension that did not exist in the novel”. In the film, Dr. Grant specializes in Velociraptors, and believes that birds are closely related to dinosaurs. At the end of the film, his experience on the island changes his view of children (and dinosaurs) and he decides not to endorse Jurassic Park.
I mean, yes, Claire Dearing is a woman and Alan Grant is a man, but they both have basically the same story. The idea that it’s sexist for a woman to learn to care more about humans than work but not even remotely sexist (or gendered!) for a man to do the same is a perfect encapsulation of the incoherency of feminist outrage culture.
Quick sidebar here to highlight Stern’s defensive tweet in response to some criticism he received for his piece:
MRAs are Men’s Rights Activists. He uses the term as a way to smear anyone who disagrees with his ill-conceived review. And then, forgetting that his whole review is about how Jurassic World is sexist because it portrays a woman who, faced with the death of her dear nephews, decides to care about them even more than her job, he engages in a sexist slur about their sex lives. I mean, at least be consistent. The Twitter thread devolves into a discussion about how no one can criticize any aspect of his review unless they’ve seen the movie, which is what you might expect to hear from a high school student and not a grown man who is paid cash money for his opinions, but I digress.
Stern’s real problem, though, is what we might call “serious mommy issues.” As in, he seems to think being maternal is some kind of negative. He’s not the only one with fecundophobia — the fear of children and mothers. I guess it’s because feminism means valuing yourself in terms of how much money you make and how many hours you put in at the office instead of, you know, the quality of your relationships with people in your care. Check it out:
And here is where the film turns into a bizarre twist on George of the Jungle. As Claire and Owen travel through the dino-infested rainforests in search of the missing children, he begins to loosen her up through good ol’ fashioned sweet-talkin’. For God knows what reason, Claire is still sporting her work blouse and heels and is very much the distressed damsel, but what do you know, after a few witty barbs he convinces her to roll up her sleeves and tie her shirt in a bow. More sweaty forest shenanigans, and she loses the shirt. And then the heels. Once they’ve emerged from woods, and after avoiding certain death several times, she’s born again: a sweaty, humorous, maternal woman who’s severed her ties to her job and is only concerned with saving her two boys. Oh, and she’s got a man, too…
Yes, there’s nothing women hate more than being sweet-talked by ridiculously hot guys who teach us to laugh and enjoy the higher things in life. NAILED IT, Stern.
Stern goes on to mention how Joss Whedon — before he was driven off of social media by, well, social justice mobs — was criticizing some clip he saw of Jurassic World as sexist or something:
When asked about Whedon’s criticism of the Jurassic World clip, Trevorrow gave an interesting—and puzzling—response: “I wasn’t bothered by what he said about the movie and, to be honest, I don’t totally disagree with him.”
Trevorrow then went on to say that the film “starts with characters that are almost archetypes, stereotypes that are deconstructed as the story progresses,” adding, “The real protagonist of the movie is Claire, and we embrace her femininity in the story’s progression.”
Femininity is, by and large, a social construct. And in 2015, to “embrace” one’s “femininity” doesn’t have to mean choosing motherhood and a man over a successful career. We’ve moved past that. We’ve evolved.
But apparently in whatever wave of feminism we’re currently crashing under, “embracing femininity” does have to mean choosing a successful career over motherhood and a hot man. Really amazing that only 20 percent of Americans identify as feminist, isn’t it?
Seriously, do feminist progressives not get how awful they sound when advocating for their cause? They’re “pro-choice” about what you choose so long as the choice means a barren womb and love-making to a job instead of Chris Pratt.
And despite the media’s rush (particularly pronounced in recent weeks) to believe that think-feelings are more definitive than biological reality, femininity is not, in fact, a social construct. The phrase “social construct” is a social construct, but femininity is not. Femininity, the qualities of womanliness, is inextricably tied to our chromosomes and the fact that we have wombs and breasts. The reality of these things mean that women — in general, not always, and not in a “have to” way but more like a “get to” way — are very good at nurturing other humans and being responsible for a lot of those social bonds that help societies thrive, including conceiving, gestating, birthing and breastfeeding babies. But even women who aren’t directly engaged in such maternal activities also can participate in the nurturing of humans. This is a feature, not a bug. It’s awesome. I love being a woman and so do many of the women I know who don’t identify as feminists. And while feminism may wish to devolve away from that, it’s completely untrue that Stern has a good handle on whether women even want to trade meaningful human relationships and the propagation of humanity for lots of time at the office.