William Golding’s 1954 novel Lord of the Flies details how a group of boys stranded on an island without adult supervision eventually resort to violence and murder to survive. It was adapted into a movie by Harry Cook in 1990. In a lot of ways, it reinforced stereotypes of ‘boys will be boys’, by depicting that boys will inherently be violent and aggressive like society teaches them to be.
But now, the story is about to get a new adaptation. It will be a group of girls and not boys who will be stranded on an island in the new Lord of the Flies. And guess who is going to be helming this movie with an all-girls cast? Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel. Yep, two men are directing a movie in attempt to have more women-centric films. Did they miss the memo on what women-inclusive films are supposed to be? (We need more women helming films and not just piling women on in the cast as token representation.)
According to a report, McGehee says, “(The new film) breaks away from some of the conventions, the ways we think of boys and aggression. People still talk about the movie and the book from the standpoint of pure storytelling. It is a great adventure story, real entertainment, but it has a lot of meaning embedded in it as well.”
But what will the girls on the island do now? To counter all the boys’ aggression in the 1990 film, will the new Lord of the Flies try to show that girls are just as aggressive? Or even worse, will it show women, sitting next on a cold surface (because duh, why would girls know how to make a bonfire, right?), talking about boys?
The hypocrisy of two men trying to show how women are, is not lost on us. Feminist writer Roxanne Gay says, “The plot of that book wouldn’t happen with all women.”
If the movie touches upon female cohesion without piling in loads of stereotypes, it will be the movie’s salvaging quality. Hollywood has tried to tell women’s stories through men’s lenses multiple times. Mean Girls was directed by Mark Waters and touched upon hierarchy of ‘girl world’ in high school. But hey, at least, it has Tina Fey.
But the all-girls Lord of the Flies is worrisome, thanks to yet another pair of men trying to mansplain women about women. We’d like to sit with them around a bonfire we’ve created to tell them what’s up about men trying to show how women behave.