I was very excited about going to see the new Jurassic World film as I’m ever the optimist.
But here’s the thing. Although there are some awesome effects and I was awake for the whole of the film, its portrayal of women goes back thousands of years.
Is it too horrific for Hollywood to show a successful woman?
Where our previous Jurassic heroines have had a career in which they’re successful, a personality, courage, decent boots and a sense of humour, the latest offering delivers up a character moresuited to Carry on Dinosaur.
She starts out running a complex which has 20,000 visitors a day. She’s busy juggling corporate sponsorship, a vast team, a trying boss and, oh, lots of dinosaurs.
A character who has had to work hard to get where she is.
But, oh no, disaster, she’s not sure of her nephews’ ages. Judgment time. How can she be possibly trusted with anything if she doesn’t know this important detail and – even worse – doesn’t appear to have time for children?
Cue a gun-slinging training man to put her in her place.
Is it too horrific for Hollywood to show a successful woman? In the first Jurassic Park film, character Alan Grant didn’t like kids very much, or know what to do with them. But while he was finding out that children are quite fun, he was still allowed to be a professional in his field, have opinions, be listened to and to make a difference.
Not so for Claire Dearing, who is the same way inclined with children but then spends the entire film shrieking and screaming and being subtly put down by the hero of the piece, who even grabs her and pulls her in for a kiss to make his point.
And the other women? Totty for the teenage boy to gawp at, a hapless assistant who loses the children (note to all girls watching – never have a career, it means you will fail at children), and a sidekick in the computer room who – what a surprise – is used as a butt of male humour.
She fends off a guy saying ‘I have a boyfriend’. If only she’d been quick-witted enough to remember she isn’t a possession and gone with a simple ‘sod off’ instead.