An all-female 'Lord of the Flies' movie has been announced

Sep 17 | 1.1K sharesAlexander Blum

If you went to high school, you probably had to read Lord of the Flies. I don't remember much from it, save for the general themes of aggression, war, discord and the ultimate inability for boyhood evil to be transcended - the last surviving boys are rescued by a British fighter pilot, after all. War is eternal.

The 1954 William Golding novel is set to be produced by Warner Brothers, joining franchises such as Ocean's Eleven that will be remade with all-female casts, just like last year's Ghostbusters.

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It's a curious trend, to remake old films or franchises with female casts. It's surely a symptom of Hollywood's overall bankruptcy of original ideas, otherwise directors and screenwriters would be able to get original female-lead stories told. I'm sure there's no shortage out there, so why are industry gatekeepers sticking to what we already know instead of letting artists tell new stories about women?

Is that really too much to ask for - an original film about women, instead of the ten-thousandth mediocre remake? Of course, that's a general complaint as well.

But with this particular film, feminist writers are taking issue with the idea that the source material is even compatible with femininity.

Two men, Scott McGehee and David Siegel, are scheduled to make the film. They claim to be “taking the opportunity to tell it in a way it hasn’t been told before". We don't know what they'll come up with, but critics believe that a story about teen girls killing one another will not be feminist.

There are a lot of complex ideas and assumptions beneath the surface here. There's no way to really address them without delving into debates about feminism, gender and aggression, but shit, looks like there's no other direction this article can really take.

First off, it is true that men, on average, are more violent than women. Men commit the most crimes in every society. Men, historically and in the modern world, commit more violent crime, and of course wage most wars.

But we need to recall the context of Lord of the Flies. A plane full of privileged, spoiled British kids has crashed and they're left to fend for themselves in the wilderness. The idea that women, in this type of terrifying survival scenario, would not become aggressive, violent and vindictive just because they are women seems naive to the reality of placing a civilized person into an uncivilized environment. If you put anyone in this sort of fight-or-die situation, tribes would rapidly form and they would probably begin to compete with one another. That competition would look quite bloody.

alt Credit: Helen Nowell

It seems that feminists are rejecting this film on the grounds that women are incapable of exhibiting qualities of 'toxic masculinity', or tribal warlike aggression. How is that sensible? Of course women would become badass vicious survivalists in an emergency situation. Why is it feminist to say that women are incapable of doing so?

The culture wars rage on, but I doubt they'll amount to much.