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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Jurassic World

Where Are the Women? Jurassic World

The female coprotagonist is a Jurassic World administrator of some sort and ostensibly an authority figure, but she is constantly undermined by men.


Is there a female character with significant screen time who grows, changes, and/or learns something over the course of the story? (for an ensemble cast, or a film with a male protagonist) [why this matters]


Is there a female character (either a protagonist or a supporting character with significant screen time) in a position of authority (politics, law, medicine, etc.)? [why this matters]
Is her authority presented as having a negative impact on her life? [why this matters]

Is there a woman whose role could easily have been played by a man? [why this matters]


Is there a female character with significant screen time who dresses less appropriately for the environment than her male counterparts do? [why this matters]

Is a woman introduced by the camera crawling up her body (either front or back) from her feet to her head? [why this matters]

Is a woman or women used as decorative objects/set dressing? [why this matters]
Are one or more either a protagonist or significant supporting character? [why this matters]
Is this a major recurring visual motif? [why this matters]


Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional or biological relationship with a child or children? [why this matters]


Is there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)

The female administrator of Jurassic World is depicted as sexually uptight and unreasonably dismissive of her own sexual impulses… a situation that is, of course, rectified by the end of the film. A male character would never be depicted this way.


IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)

IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? Yes, one of four credited (Amanda Silver) (does not impact scoring)

BOTTOM LINE: The female coprotagonist, a Jurassic World administrator of some vague sort, is ostensibly an authority figure here, but she is constantly undermined by men who — we are meant to see — obviously know better than she. She gets increasingly less dressed as the film goes on — unlike her male coprotagonists, who remain fully clothed — and her “reward” at the end is a kiss from a man whose previous romantic advances she had rebuffed. Women! Always saying No when they really mean Yes.

Click here for the ongoing ranking of 2015’s films for female representation.

NOTE: This is not a “review” of Jurassic World! It is simply an examination of how well or how poorly it represents women. (A movie that represents women well can still be a terrible film; a movie that represents women poorly can still be a great film.) Read my review of Jurassic World.

See the full rating criteria. (Criteria that do not apply to this film have been deleted in this rating for maximum readability.)

This rating is brought to you without paywall restrictions by my generous Kickstarter supporters. If you missed out on the Kickstarter and would like to support this project, you may:

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posted in:
where are the women

  • Bluejay

    Yeah, the depiction of Bryce Dallas Howard’s character was pretty awful. There was also her British assistant, who gets snatched up by the pterosaurs and extensively mauled; I understand the movie probably needed to show at least one scene of dinosaurs viciously killing people, but that scene really felt like the film was saying the character deserved it, and I have no idea why. (There was another woman, the tech assistant who rebuffs the male tech assistant’s advances, but the audience at my screening was laughing too hard for me to make out the dialogue. What was that all about?)

    This film fares really poorly when it comes to its female characters, especially when compared to the first two movies (I haven’t seen the third). Those movies had women as smart, capable, kickass scientists who — as far as I recall — were actually shown being good at their jobs, weren’t given the male-gazey treatment, and weren’t portrayed as sexual stiffs who needed the enlightenment of motherhood to redeem their characters. And The Lost World had a black teenage girl as one of the protagonists (when was the last time that happened in a megablockbuster film?), whose raptor-defeating gymnastic move was one of the most memorable things about the whole series, in my opinion.


    Some will probably (inevitably) say “Lighten up; Jurassic World isn’t supposed to be a PC feminist tract!” Well, neither were the first two Jurassic movies. You don’t need to sacrifice thrills and adventure in order to have a movie that doesn’t shit all over women. (See also: Mad Max: Fury Road.)

  • BraveGamgee

    Yeah, this movie was a complete mess in regards to female representation. However, that scene you missed due to laughter was pretty fantastic. The tech assistant who rebuffs his advances reveals that she already has a boyfriend, and in a calm professional manner helps him to understand that his heroism doesn’t mean he can get whatever he wants (but that she appreciates the heroism nonetheless). Man, if they’d done this with the two leads instead, it would’ve done the characters a world of good. *sigh* One can dream…

  • LaSargenta

    One can even dream of a day when a rebuff doesn’t also have to have the mealymouthed “I already have a boyfriend” bit. It implies to the rebuffed one that ‘*if only* I didn’t have one, you’d be top of the list’. It is a cop out and an ego soother.

  • Bluejay

    Thanks for clearing that up. Yeah, it’s a good subversion of expectations, but I agree with LaSargenta that it could have gone even further. (“Sorry, you’re really just not my type… but what you’re doing is awesome.”)

    Interesting too to see that that scene was improvised — the script had the two characters kiss.

  • I’ve heard someone suggest that the upshot of that scene is that the woman is at fault for not having made her relationship status totally clear previously.

    Which is, of course, total bullshit.

  • I am really afraid that there is a significant minority of men who genuinely do not enjoy movies as much if the women aren’t solely eye candy. I suspect women who are competent and smart are too threatening to them: they know they wouldn’t stand a chance with women like that, but bimbo characters allow them to fantasize without their boners wilting.

  • BraveGamgee

    That is… disgusting.

  • BraveGamgee

    Woah, let’s not dream too far!

    In all seriousness, though, that’s an excellent point

  • Danielm80
  • Dr. Rocketscience
  • Bluejay

    Yeah, yeah, sure, the MOVIE says the dinosaurs are female. Luckily, Hasbro’s here to set the record straight.


  • Danielm80

    I was feeling so good about the world today. Obamacare was upheld by the Supreme Court. Confederate flags are disappearing around the country. And then I went and read the comment thread for that article. Do not do as I have done.

  • LaSargenta

    We all learn from our mistakes, but, the wisest among us learn from other people’s!

  • *facepalm*

  • Bluejay

    What makes it even more infuriating is that, in a couple of places, the copy reads “this toy figure looks just like Velociraptor ‘Blue’!” So it doesn’t read like an unintentional blunder by a clueless copy writer, as some commenters on that thread speculate. It reads EXACTLY as if they knew what the gender was, and are pushing a toy that “looks just like” the movie character, except male, so it’s safe for all the boys to play with.

    You don’t market an official Optimus Prime toy by saying it “looks just like” Optimus Prime, or an official Elsa doll by saying it “looks just like” Elsa. You say it IS Optimus Prime, or it IS Elsa. That “looks just like” phrasing gives them wiggle room to imply it’s not technically Blue, it’s the boy version of her.

  • BraveGamgee

    This is one of the only websites I ever allow myself to read the comment threads. Other comment threads make me lose hope for humanity. This website’s comment threads tend to restore my hope in it (for the most part)

  • Bluejay
  • An oversight. Ugh. “Yeah, sorry, we just assumed, as is the norm, that anything alive — and sometimes even inanimate objects — that are not specifically identified as female every time they’re mentioned are male.”

  • David

    Sometimes an Ice Queen just needs a real man to thaw her out :)

    Although, this one did break new ground in being the first JP film to have a woman get eaten by a dinosaur.

  • Yup, the only things wrong with how women are treated by this world is that not enough of them are getting the deep dicking they are clearly craving.

    That’s *totally* the problem.

  • RogerBW

    How fortunate that so many selfless men are willing to help out.

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