The recent news that a remake of the classic film, “Lord of the Flies” with an all female cast is in the works has sparked quite a bit of backlash. Reactions have ranged from outright derision and mocking to those who point out that the original book (and film) are about toxic masculinity (implying that the plot’s basic premise can’t work with an all female cast).
I remember that many years ago I was the only male in my department within a large and well known company. And, every so often, my boss – who’s office was directly across the hall from mine – would rush out of her office, muttering “I hate managing women, they’re so damned CATTY!” as she ran down the hall.
It may well be that men are more prone to toxic behavior, as some have claimed: I cannot deny that I have witnessed such behavior; and have no doubts that I will again in the future, many times. But on the other hand, toxic behavior is not limited to those who identify as men.
Yes, with an all female cast, the dynamics and story may well will be very different. But, no one of any gender (or anyone at all, for that matter) is above toxic behavior; nor is anyone somehow immune to becoming enmeshed in the evils of mob mentality.
So, I’ll be interested to see what this new version of this classic story has to say about how toxic and mob behavior plays out with those who identify as female. It may well help us to look in the mirror and see things about ourselves that we’d rather not admit it was there.
Forcing us to look in the mirror and ask hard questions about what we’re really doing, and who we really are, is what great storytelling often does by placing us into the middle of it.
And so, given today’s increasingly toxic environment, we all will do well to listen and honestly confront ourselves about who we are in the story.
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