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The Female Perspective: Female Dinosaur Toys? Dear God NO!!!!!

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


How many of you have seen the Jurassic Park movies? Okay, that’s like a bazillion-trillion of you, good. Now, how many of you recall that all the dinosaurs on the island are female? No? Watch this for a quick refresher.

Okay, now that we are all on the same page let’s take a moment and check out these wonderful new Jurassic World toys! Oh boy, dinosaurs and raptors to play with, what fun! Wait…huh? These dino’s are described as being boys. Well that’s quite odd…

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Oh wait, it’s not all that odd because girls can’t have toys unless they are gender approved. God forbid your son gets a GIRL dinosaur to play with. I am sure that will instantly make him like…what exactly? Girl dinosaurs? Will it make him gay? Can we please just call this for what it actually is? Sexism. The fact is, we see it over and over again, does anyone have any Black Widow toys? Not really right? Because they are so against selling women figures or female toys that they will actually go to the lengths of actually erasing a woman off her own toy or changing the entire mythos of the story by making the dino’s boys instead of girls.

Does this make me angry? A little bit, yes because the whole thing about Jurassic Park is that they manufacture the dinosaur’s to be all female all the time so that they don’t breed (but, as we all know, that fails in spectacular fashion). So why make the change? Why decide to write-up the dino’s as male instead of female? What’s the thought process on this? I am actually curious to know because I cannot think of one, single reason why you would take characters that are very much female and decide that they’re male because maybe the powers that be that make those kinds of decisions think that boy dino’s will sell better than girl dino’s? Newsflash, whoever you are decision making guy, you should get fired for being so dumb it actually hurts me. Why give the dino’s a sex at all? If you are so offended by the idea that they are female in ALL OF THE MOVIES why bother with a he or she pronoun? Oh that’s right, sexism.

All girls, all the time.
All girls, all the time.

It’s a tough world out there folks and while I realize that dinosaur toys as a movie tie-in is the smallest nugget of annoyance there can possibly be, it’s still frustrating that female’s get so little respect that there can’t even be a proper toy that represents them. Don’t even get me started on the Furiosa comic book that completely negates the beauty of Mad Max: Fury Road. 

Come on, sing it with me! "Girls, girls, girls!"
Come on, sing it with me! “Girls, girls, girls!”

It’s these “little” things that make up the bigger whole. It’s these things that remind me (and so many others) that feminism is important, that it is necessary. Equality will never be a thing of the real world until we are all actually equal and no one decides that a female dinosaur has to be male because it won’t sell otherwise. I can PROMISE you, even if you put a pink frilly hat on ole’ Blue up there, it would still sell because Jurassic World is a HUGE hit.

Come on decision makers, stop screwing us ladies over in the toy department, we like toys too and not just Barbie dolls.

What do YOU think? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Dinosaurs and Feminism: Can The Two Exist?

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Jurassic World = Awesome
Jurassic World = Awesome

Last week I went to see Jurassic World (with a few million other people it seems) and I want to state up front two things.

1. I am a HUGE Jurassic Park fan though the sequels left me pretty cold, I won’t lie about that. None of them had the magic of the first one. That first sight of those dang dinosaurs blew my teenage mind 20+ years ago. It was a feat of movie making that made me feel excited and joyful at what I was seeing. It was an adventure story and it was about dinosaurs! Not to mention, I loved the book as well.

2. I loved Jurassic World, it evoked the feelings of the first movie and it managed to stay true to the roots of its source while also being its own fun romp through dino-land. I had a great time watching this movie.

That being said let’s delve into something I read after seeing the movie that made me roll my eyes a bit because it seems that every movie these days is being searched throughly for its feminist identity.

!!!IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE STOP HERE!!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED

Claire Dearing played by Bryce Dallas Howard.
Claire Dearing played by Bryce Dallas Howard.

I read an article about how the main female character, Claire Dearing, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, wears her high heels throughout the entire film and how that, along with her perfect ensemble, make her less than feminist.

Seriously? Do you hear yourself? We’re judging a fictional character on her outfit and saying that she is left wanting.

Claire’s outfit isn’t a sign of fierceness; it’s a crime of lazy filmmaking — a patronizing shorthand for her cluelessness and stubborn need for control. See how out-of-touch she is with her environment? Silly girl!

~Vulture.com

I see, okay, well that’s one opinion. My thoughts as I watched the film is that Claire doesn’t have the time to run off and change her clothing into something more “acceptable” and it’s more than reasonable for a professional working in a professional environment (even a dinosaur park) to dress the part. It’s quickly clear that Claire is rigid in her thinking and is a workaholic. In a funny exchange with ex-Navy, Raptor Wrangler Owen Grady (played by Chris Pratt) we learn that Claire is the type of woman who prints out an itinerary for her dates. Sure, there are people like that, good on them. Makes sense for that type of personality to be in charge of a potential death park.

The one part of Jurassic World that stuck out for me as annoying? Not Claire’s outfit or her high heels (I’ll get to the heels in a moment) it was when she was talking to her sister and the conversation falls to the boring idea that one day Claire will understand how her sister feels because you have to be a mother to understand kids…or some such bull-crap. It was an annoying and trite line spoken in a way that rang untrue to me. Perhaps it’s because I’m tired of the stereotypical mother types or maybe it’s because it’s a quick and stupid way to pigeon-hole women into their “proper” roles. To me, that was a lazy bit of writing that the movie could have easily done without.

Howard and Pratt as they begin their Jurassic World adventures.
Howard and Pratt as they begin their Jurassic World adventures.

Moving on…

As many know, all hell breaks loose in the park as the new, genetically engineered dino, the Indominous-Rex, gets free of its enclosure and begins to destroy its way through the park. During that time Claire’s two young nephews get lost in the shuffle and she enlists Owen to help her find them. To do this they must venture into the park and Claire jumps right in, high heels and white suit be damned. I actually kind of loved her for this. She didn’t run off to change (she frankly didn’t have the time) and she didn’t kick off her shoes, instead, she RAN in her heels and let me tell you, she ran like the wind. It was actually impressive enough that I noticed it at one point. I later read that Howard actually trained for her heel running like it was an Olympic competition and she never switched her heels to flats or special wedges, she did all that running herself.

By the way, for those of you who think that a woman can’t run in heels like that I can tell you with 100% certainty that they can. Not from my personal experience but I have a good friend who can run in heels so it does happen folks. Believe it! For me, I didn’t think Claire’s outfit signaled lazy filmmaking, her running in heels didn’t seem ludicrous, it’s what happens when all hell breaks loose and you are trying to keep yourself safe and your loved ones safe. You don’t have the time to think about what you’re wearing, you don’t have the time to care, all you have the time for is surviving. To me, in a movie like Jurassic World it rang true and I didn’t even stop to ponder that it might be a sign of anti-feminism.

To say that the characters are all “types” would be a truth and it’s not a slight against the movie. It’s the kind of movie that doesn’t have the time to spend developing deep and subtle characters. Character development has to be quick and it has to be easy. Dressing Claire in head to toe white with beige heels and perfect hair is a great way to show the audience right away who she is. Dressing Owen in a leather vest and tight jeans is the best way to show us who he is. Clothes do make a difference a film and in this case, they do it very effectively.

As for feminism in a dinosaur movie? Yeah, it’s there, it’s quiet but it’s there. It’s when Claire saves Owen, even though her nephews then prefer the supposed safety of Owen’s company to hers. It’s when she doesn’t hesitate to release the T-Rex and have it chase her to save her loved ones. It’s there when she protects them from danger and it’s there when she goes after her nephews. One of my favorite small scenes is when Claire and Owen are running from the I-Rex and he stops to give her a hand, she buzzes right past him, a quick little f-you to being a gentlemen during a fight or flight scenario. She was going to keep going, chivalry be damned!

Remember how badass Laura Dern was in that movie? She played world-renowned paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler, the intellectual equal to her partner, Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), and a tough, resourceful heroine in the mold of Alien‘s Ellen Ripley or Terminator‘s Sarah Connor. She was able to identify extinct poisonous plants on sight, went toe-to-toe with Jeff Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcolm on chaos theory (with that great line: “Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the Earth”), and got elbow-deep in a mountain of dung to diagnose an ailing triceratops. When it came time for her to fight off a velociraptor while taking the initiative to restart a power grid, we had faith she would prevail. In fact, the entire movie was quietly feminist in the way it depicted the downfall of male hubris, from Wayne Knight’s botched attempt to steal dino embryos to the exile of man from the island by an entirely female dinosaur population. Women did inherit the Earth after all. -Vulture.com

Laura Dern's Ellie Sattler was pretty darn bad-ass.
Laura Dern’s Ellie Sattler was pretty darn bad-ass.

To compare Claire to Sattler is ridiculous in my opinion because while they aren’t the same woman, they share similar qualities, namely in terms of being able to battle dinosaurs when called upon. Sattler and Grant were equals, yes, and she was a bad-ass character in a lot of ways but so is Claire. I think to simply dismiss Claire’s strength because of her outfit and frigid behavior is to not give her credit for who she is. Simply put, it’s judging a book by its cover. Claire does a lot in this movie and to me, she is resourceful, smart and brave and she should be given credit for being so instead of put down because her outfit and hair are “impeccable” (which isn’t even true, she’s a hot mess by the end of the movie). I think articles like the Vulture.com one is part of the problem with people trying to “defend” feminism everywhere they go. The fact is, not every movie is going to be full of feminist fun like Mad Max: Fury Road was but I feel like when we get a character like Claire, who can be both feminine AND strong it’s a win-win situation. People need to reframe their perceptions of what feminism should look like and realize that it can take all shapes and sizes. From a tough, post-apocalyptic bad-ass to a modern, professional woman in heels. Let’s all open our minds and broaden our feminist horizons.

But then again, so was Claire...I mean, she lured the T-Rex to the I-Rex...not something for the faint of heart.
But then again, so was Claire…I mean, she lured the T-Rex to the I-Rex…not something for the faint of heart.

What do YOU think? Did you see Jurassic World? Did you love it, hate it?

What did you think of Claire and her heels?

Sound off in the comments!

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Trailer Snark (June 12th 2015 Theatrical Releases)

Welcome to our newest column, Trailer Snark, which will be a weekly column that will be published on Thursdays covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Jurassic World (Universal) – Action
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril.
Tag Line: The Park is Open
Starring:  Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, and Jake Johnson
Plot:  Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor’s interest, which backfires horribly.
Running Time: 124 minutes

Ken: Loved Jurassic Park when I was a kid but I rooted for the dinosaurs. Go get em Indominus, bonus points for eating someone off the toilet.
Chris: How do you make summer films more exciting?  Just add dinosaurs!  OK, it didn’t work out for the first Jurassic Park sequel (I could not stand Lost World), but this one has Star Lord baby.  Count me in.
Jessica: OH MAN I am SO stoked for this one! I love everything about the trailer, the use of the original soundtrack, the story, EVERYTHING. Can’t wait.
Rob: Looks like a fun mindless flick; great for a drive-in in the summer.  I’m still sore over how bad the first film was compared to the book though.
Jim: Yeah, I’m pretty much a sucker for these movies. I even liked the much– maligned The Lost World. I can’t see it fast enough.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Fox Searchlight Pictures) – Drama
Rated PG – 13 for sexual content, drug material, language and some thematic elements
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Jon Bernthal, and Molly Shannon
Plot: High schooler Greg, who spends most of his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl, finds his outlook forever altered after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer.
Running Time: 105 minutes

Rob: Genuine, Touching, and Real are the three words that came to mind when I saw this trailer.  I’m intrigued by this one.  Has a vibe to it that makes you think the story will resonate and stick with you.
Jim: Ah, movies about dying children. Pass the popcorn. The Fault In our Stars was enough for me. I will definitely skip this one.
Jessica: I would go see this in a heartbeat, it looks touching, funny, real and a total sob fest. I’m in!
Ken: Did anyone else watch the cartoon Home Movies? This movie is like a What If… episode where Melissa has terminal cancer. Awkwardly funny which is my favorite kind of funny but heavy subject matter.
Chris: Not your typical summer film, and that is just fine.  There is room for sentiment and human interest stories between special effects extravaganzas and Hollywood’s cash cows.  This one could be a winner.

Set Fire to the Stars (Strand Releasing) – Biographical Drama
Rating N/A
Tag Line:  N/A
Starring: Elijah Wood, Celyn Jones, and Kelly ReillyPlot: An aspiring poet in 1950s New York has his ordered world shaken when he embarks on a week-long retreat to save his hell raising hero, Dylan Thomas.
Running Time: 97 minutes

Jessica: Totally intrigued. I will usually watch anything that Frodo Baggins is in.
Chris: The best face of bewilderment in Hollywood, Elijah Wood, stars in the artsy black and white about a poet who tries to save his hero, Dylan Thomas, from himself.  Looks awesome!
Ken: 50’s style biopic about the late, great poet Dylan Thomas. Stream you at home.
Rob: Black & White art house film about Dylan Thomas.  Won’t go far, but could be solid.

Vendetta (WWE Studios) – Action/Drama
Rated R for bloody violence and some language
Tag Line:  Get Ready for Hell in a Cell
Starring: Dean Cain, Paul Wight, and Ben Hollingsworth
Plot: A detective pushed beyond his limits will stop at nothing for vengeance. When his wife is killed by a criminal that he put away, Mason, a hard-nosed detective, deliberately gets arrested in order to get revenge. While inside, Mason discovers a new criminal enterprise that those behind it would kill to protect.
Running Time: N/A

Rob: Cops wife killed.  Cop kills one criminal to go to jail and get the other one.  Nothing special to see here.
Jessica: Renter, maybe. Didn’t really do anything for me.
Chris: The second I saw WWE Films pop up, I knew this one was a renter at best.  Staying through the rest of the trailer only confirmed it.

The Yes Men Are Revolting (The Orchard) – Documentary
Not Rated
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: The Yes Men Comedy Troupe
Plot: Comedy troupe The Yes Men stage phony events and press releases in an effort to bring attention to environmental dangers and corporate greed.
Running Time: 91 minutes

Rob: Prankster activists, sure in small doses.  Not sure I’d want to sit through a whole film though.
Ken: Don’t let the funny fool you, these guys get political. Legit, left wing activists making a mockery of injustices are worth a watch. But gotta agree with Rob, feature length prankster movies are tough to sit through.
Jessica: I would definitely rent this but I save my theater viewings to the bigger films but I do enjoy a good documentary and this looks funny and empowering.
Jim: Undoubtedly well -made, but I’m not sure how interested I’d be in this.
Chris: It’s like a YouTube greatest pranks collage.  Meh…..

The Wolfpack (Magnolia Pictures) – Biographical Drama/Documentary
Rated R for language
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: The Angulo Family
Plot: Locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Angulo brothers learn about the outside world through the films that they watch. Nicknamed, ‘The Wolfpack,’ the brothers spend their childhood reenacting their favorite films using elaborate homemade props and costumes. Their world is shaken up when one of the brothers escapes and everything changes.
Running Time: 80 minutes

Ken: Wait, this is a documentary?? Holy….
Chris: Sheltered from life outside their NY apartment, five boys who have come of age venture out into a brave new world.  I’ll be catching this one on the small screen.
Jessica: Absolutely fascinated.
Jim:  See The Yes Men Are Revolting.
Rob: Mildly interesting.  Shut-ins finally seeing the world outside of a small apartment they were raised in.  Prior to that all they had were films.  Seems a bit far fetched.

Tickets Purchased:  3 tickets for Jurassic World (Chris, Jim, and Jessica) and 3 tickets for Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl (Rob, Ken, and Jessica).  Exercise that movie rewards card Jess!

Dinosaurs want to make cancer extinct!
Dinosaurs want to make cancer extinct!

What will you be seeing this weekend at the theaters?
-The Great Stories Team