I’ve just learned that they’ve filmed a girls-only version of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies (1954), and because a catchy title was beyond their reach, it’s called Yellowjackets and premieres this weekend on Showtime in the US.
An all-girl remake of LOTF? What could go wrong, right?
My first reading of Golding’s novel was, as often stated, the moment I matured from childhood to adolescence. It was the first novel I properly understood, and it was terrifying as hell.
In the context of a story conveived in the 50’s, it made sense to use boys. Golding himself explained that he chose boys because (a) he had been one, and (b) felt girls couldn’t be “boiled down” to symbolise what happens when civilisation ends.
Yellowjackets sets out to prove Golding wrong. To demonstrate the ferocious savagery of girlhood, for example, they swapped the all-male Uruguayan rugby team from Alive (1993) for an all-female American soccer team. But Alive was a true story. Yellowjackets is pure, revanchist fantasy.
And not even that sort of fantasy.
Reviewers note the absence of catfights a.k.a. lesbian foreplay, nudity and/or ‘jiggle’. While I don’t recall there being much homoerotic bicep-flexing in LOTF either, let’s wait to see the reimagined Piggy before we begin showering Yellowjackets in Golden Globes.
I don’t think gender-swap is a legitimate artistic concept.
If it is, then what’s next? A six-part BBC romcom featuring dour old Mr Darcy and a snarky post-op Trevor Bennet? Is that Catherine tapping at the window? Nah it’s just that Cameron again. Die already, you spooky bastard! It seems we’ve reached a withering height.
For hundreds of years we’ve written stories that feature male and female protagonists. Why are we rewriting all the male roles as female and expecting, nay demanding, they be showered with praise? Jude will always be obscure; and the “snakey-thing” in Lord of the Flies? Perfectly fine as it is.