Recently the husband and I did something we’ve been meaning to do for some time now. We signed up for a service called Movie Pass. (Note, this is not sponsored.) It’s cool, you can go see a movie a day for ten dollars a month.
We’ve been seeing a lot of movies.
One night, we’d intended to go see the long-awaited Incredibles 2. But then things happened and we were late to the theater. So, we saw Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom.
The next morning, my mother in law asked me how the movie was. I started discussing the dinosaurs, the good special effects, the bad special effects. The strong suspension of disbelief that the movie requires to enjoy. Then I said, “There was definitely some sexism going on in the movie, but not enough that it was unwatchable.”
And she said, “Yeah, I’d heard about that.” A moment later, as I was discussing a scene where a character walked across a glass roof in sneakers in the rain, and how she should have slipped, she stopped. “How many movies did you see last night?” she asked.
“Just one,” I said, “Jurassic World.”
“Oh, I thought you were seeing Incredibles 2,” she replied.
“Wait, so what’s this about Incredibles 2 being sexist?”
At the time I hadn’t seen the movie, of course, so I didn’t want to read anything that might cloud my opinion of the movie. But the accusation that it might be sexist worried me. Disney has its reputation, of course.
At this point, I’ve seen both films. And I’ve read some of the arguments for and against the supposed sexism in Incredibles 2. So I thought it would be fun to compare the two movies, based on their gender equality.
The sexism of Jurassic world
Before I go any further, I do want to say that Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom was a fun movie to watch. If you’re a fan of the series, you’ll like it. I enjoyed watching it, despite the issues I had with it. It wasn’t so sexist that I felt the need to walk out of the theater in a huff.
But, Generally any movie that has the main character calling himself chivalrous because he doesn’t let his girlfriend drive the car is going to irritate me.
But I don’t love that the child character gravitated towards the female lead, not the male. Even though it was him that she saw interacting with baby dinosaurs earlier in the movie, and she didn’t know this woman from Eve.
But, it would be nice to see the female lead be a little less screamy.
But, they didn’t need to make the antagonist so boneheaded sexist. That’s not a good look.
The problem isn’t really that the movie is sexist. It’s that the characters are stereotypes. The sensitive ecologist. The strong male lead with a sensitive side. The feisty, spunky doctor. The cowardly computer tech. It’s lazy, just lazy. But let’s be fair, we’re not seeing these movies for the dazzling characters. We’re seeing it for the badass dinosaurs.
If you’re wondering, the movie did not disappoint! Blue was awesome!
The awesomeness of Incredibles 2
After I watched Incredibles 2, I was really confused by my mother in law’s insistent that there were rumors of sexism. It sure didn’t seem sexist to me.
Actually, it seemed pretty damn awesome and totally non-offensive. I’ll try to avoid spoilers as much as possible.
I loved that Elastagirl was the superhero that was chosen to be the ambassador, to show the world that supers were needed and should be made legal again. I love that it was because she had the fewest number of accidents. I love that Mr. Incredible was frustrated not because his wife was chosen, but because he wasn’t.
It has nothing to do with their gender! She’s chosen because she’s better, he’s mad because he wants to be out there! And yet he still stays home, and becomes a good dad. Sure, he’s exhausted. But what parent who’s used to co-parenting wouldn’t be? How many moms have worn themselves to the bone rather than accept some help? Bob is a great dad, and he proves that.
Neither character is portrayed as not being in their proper gender roles. Just not in the role in their family that they were accustomed to. Bob isn’t fumbling around, setting the kitchen on fire and forgetting to feed the baby. Helen isn’t crying all over, missing her family and unable to cope with the ‘working world’. They are excelling, not failing.
But that wasn’t the point of the movie, and that’s the big thing. It’s a part of their character arch, and it seems like a realistic one. These people seem like they could be real people, except for the super powers.
And that, I think, is the real difference between these two movies. It’s not that one is sexist and one is feminist. It’s that one has well written characters, and one doesn’t. Which I think is the main issue that most sexist movies have. It’s not malicious, it’s just bad character writing.
Sennett, Godfrey and the rest of Station 86 are trying to put their society back in order after the Core attack. Then a mysterious ship from a dying station arrives, bringing artificially intelligent robotic, murderous dogs.
Godfrey, Mason and April must get to the hospital safely, while Sennett is trying to protect Marshal’s Joy and Howard. But the AI dogs are nothing compared to the terrors they left behind on their own station.
I haven’t seen Jurassic world but I have seen Incredibles 2 and I certainly wouldn’t have said it was sexist. I loved that Helen was the one out there, being the face of super-heroes and that Bob had to come to terms with his role as SAHD and see it was equally valid. But what I loved most was when the teenage boy notices Violet and it’s not because she’d become “prettier” or “blossomed”, it’s because she seemed more confident and sure of herself and he found that attractive. For me, that’s a great role-model for young men and women.
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Right? I thought they did a great job with her storyline.
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