By Rayiah Ross
An all female Lord of the Flies would not be free of violence and hatred, but it wouldn’t happen the same way it did in the book. Girls can be savages, yes, but usually mentally savage, while boys are more physically aggressive. William Golding’s 1954 novel, Lord Of The Flies, about a group of English schoolboys stranded on an island, is set to be the next Hollywood all-female remake. I’m sure you all have read Lord Of The Flies, if not, you’ll eventually read it and suffer like the rest of us. I don’t want another Lord of the Flies remake, and especially not one with girls. A big theme in Lord of the Flies is that while savagery is an inescapable fact of human existence, civilization can set off its full expression. Golding’s underlying argument is that human beings are savage by nature, and are moved by selfishness, brutality, and dominance over others. Though the boys think the beast lives in the jungle, Golding makes it clear that it lurks only in them.
First off, this whole story would never happen if all girls were in the story. Psychologically, girls are smarter than boys. We are more mature, we are more nurturing, and I can safely say that I doubt after a few months on the island we would actually try to physically kill each other. Dr. Stephanie van Goozen, a professor of developmental psychology at Cardiff University who has conducted extensive research into aggression in children, says that Golding’s masterpiece could only have been written about boys. “In babies we don’t see a lot of emotional differences between the genders,” she says. “But from the age of two or three, girls start to control themselves and regulate their emotions a bit more. They are able to pick up emotional signals, and are sensitive to facial expressions. Boys, on the other hand, have violent responses much higher up in their repertoire of behavior, and it emerges more easily in stress situations.” In other words, you would be less likely to see a group of girls beating a kid to death with spears or shoving a stick up a pig’s rear end. Don’t get me wrong, girls can be as violent as boys. They just need to be pushed more before it revolts to violence. I mean c’mon, those sleepovers always result in pillow fights, but you don’t ever hear about full on knife wars complete with war paint.
Of course Golding’s novel does revolve a lot around the thin line between humanity and savagery, but most of it is based on the dystopian patriarchal society and how messed up it is. Golding himself says in an audio version of Lord of the Flies, “I was once a little boy–I have been a brother, a father, I am going to be a grandfather. I have never been a sister, or a mother, or a grandmother. So, this is why I wrote it, really, about little boys.” He goes on to explain why the book was focused on boys and not girls. “I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been.”
In an interview with John Baker, an English teacher at Benicia High School, I asked him about his opinion on the remake of Lord of the Flies and the differences that would have to happen. He starts off be saying, “I expect that the plot will have to be completely different for [the film] to make any sense. If the makers of it, understand that the dynamics between a group of girls would be different than those between males, the relationships, the violence, and the likelihood of survival would have to change. If they didn’t, and keep it the same as the book, I could imagine that people would be very furious.” I then asked him if he believed the fate of the characters would be different with all girls, to which he replied by saying, “I think they would be more patient and come up with a cohesive plan on what to do. The boys are between ages 6-12, and if the cast was then to be 6-12 year old girls they would be more mature.” He goes on to say, “Even just with violence against the wild boars for hunting, female students often answered no, but that doesn’t mean they wouldnt do it if they were very hungry and stranded on an island. Similarly, the male student might say they would kill the boars, but wouldn’t actually do it on the island.”
I believe girls would descend into chaos, but it would be more of mental warfare, not a physical one. If you do the movie accurately, you’re not being truthful to the nature of girls. And if you make it accurate to the actions of girls then you have a completely different work of art that is not a remake of Lord of the Flies. Anyway you take this movie, Hollywood will lose.