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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Coming to theaters: Lady of the Flies

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Lord of the Flies, beloved of high school English teachers and nobody else, was turned into not-very-good movies in 1963 and again in 1990. You remember the plot: A group of boys are stranded on an island and turn savage.

Now an all-female Flies remake is in the works, reports Daniel Victor in the New York Times.

It’s raising hackles because the two writers are male. Some feminists think girls would collaborate without conflict, creating an island utopia. No flies. Or will it be a mean girl jungle.

What remains to be seen is whether the new “Lord of the Flies” will offer largely a mirror image of the novel, subbing in girls without changing the central plot points and behavior of the characters, or if it will wrestle with how girls would approach their fate differently. “It could be problematic if all they’re doing is switching out girls for boys and saying, ‘Well, girls would do this too,’” said Pamela Davis-Kean, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan who studies children and families.

Ann Althouse votes for problematic.

Why take a classic story and feminize it by making the girls less physically aggressive and more collaborative in their problem solving? That would only be interesting if you searched for ways to make the girls more evil than the boys. If girls just do better… what’s the story? . . . Do not infuse the story with handed-down notions about what women are like stereotypically (which would probably be infected with the usual pro-woman propaganda*). Just make the boys girls and let’s see how we feel about it.

In Marianne Wiggins 1999 book, John Dollar, a British teacher, eight schoolgirls and a paralyzed sailor are stranded on an island off the coast of Burma in 1919. Their fathers came to rescue them but are eaten by cannibals.

The precarious society disintegrates; the children divide into savages and victims. Eventually, with more killings and cannibalism, John and seven of the children perish. The eighth, Monkey, finds Charlotte, who has survived on another part of the island.

Sounds jolly.

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