Still From “Lord of the Flies” (1963), Photograph Courtesy of Two Arts Ltd.
Yorba Linda High School

Why an all-female ‘Lord of the Flies’ won’t be the progressive film classic we all want

Get ready for a crash landing. Well… more like a “crash and burn” landing. A new film for William Golding’s classic novel, “Lord of the Flies,” is currently being written by Scott McGehee and David Siegel. But unlike the novel’s typical male dominated array of characters and obvious darker subject matter, Warner Brothers has decided to take a new approach to the 1954 narrative and particularly cast only females.

Now this may seem like a progressive and contemporary concept, but there are a few problems that could arise with the making of this film.

For one, an all-female cast doesn’t give the film the creative liberty to expose the toxic masculinity that is remarkably prevalent in society today.

In the novel, Golding creates a conflicting dynamic between the main characters, Ralph and Jack, to symbolize the balance between good and evil. Despite this relationship being overdone and usually cliché, Golding adds a callous twist to his work. He focuses on the group of boys as a whole, thus centralizing a part of our male-monopolized population that had been forcefully overlooked… the acceptance of rape culture.

Given that this new film is set to have an all-female cast, how are the savage ideals of sexual assault by the male figure supposed to be unmasked, if we can’t lead by way of example?

As Yorba Linda High School’s Mr. Cadra puts it, “Over 90% of the homicides committed in the U.S. are perpetrated by males. To take an act that so clearly seems to be tied to testosterone-fueled aggression and simply attribute it to females seems to undermine Golding’s views as well as go against the laws of nature.”

Additionally, this new film is supposedly meant to be a comedy, which is quite hard to believe considering the ferocity depicted in the text. According to The New Yorker, excerpts from the script goes as follows:

“And another thing,” Jackie said. “Should we have a rule that whoever has the conch gets to speak? You know, so no one gets interrupted?”

“But who,” ventured Simone, “is here to interrupt us?”

The girls looked around. It was true: there was no one.

They left the conch on the beach. Later, when they were rescued, the group agreed that Maura should take it home, since she was so crafty and could probably do something neat with it. Maura painted it sea-foam green and used it to store jewelry, which eventually inspired her to open her own Etsy shop, which was moderately successful.”

This unconventional attempt at capturing a comedic view on the novel is awkward and somewhat degrading towards women. By merely suggesting a typically female career position rather than having the ability to confront a modern controversy just to congregate a few laughs, is simply a misuse of the powerful platform of film.

Yorba Linda senior Meredith Meadows comments that “Reading ‘Lord of the Flies’ at such an adolescent stage in life is so beneficial when confronting issues like sexual assault. But with its message being impaired by the unnecessary, the novel’s message becomes convoluted and misunderstood, and we don’t see any impact on the wrongs of society.”

Understandably this movie is meant to follow the trend of several other new wave movies such as the all-female “Ghostbusters” (2016), or the upcoming “Oceans Eight” (2018). But while those films house the ability balance comedy and depicting women as leaders, “Lord of the Flies” is just a subject that can’t expose rape culture and patriarchal oppression with a female dominated line up.

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