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On Claire Dearing in 'Jurassic World'

On Claire Dearing in 'Jurassic World'

On Claire Dearing in 'Jurassic World'

(Note: This article contains spoilers for Jurassic World)

Since the release of the highly anticipated 4th Jurassic Park movie, there has been controversy over its gender politics. Many critics have deemed it sexist, “resurrecting gender stereotypes along with dinosaurs.” A lot of critique has been directed at the film’s protagonist Claire Dearing, an operations manager at the theme park.

Dr. Ellie Sattler from the original Jurassic Park has been hailed as a capable and complex female character, delivering classic one-liners such as, “Dinosaur eats man. Woman inherits the earth.” She was a tough, resourceful paleobotanist who could hold her own against velociraptors.

Claire, on the other hand, is, at first glance, a frigid executive with impractical clothing who learns to loosen up from Owen Grady, the cool, capable guy with a sense of humour. Critics are saying that Claire goes from cold career woman to maternal, dependent damsel.

Some of these criticisms have their basis: Claire refers to the dinosaurs as assets, but later shows compassion for a dying dino. She doesn’t know how to react to a hug from her nephew, but later does everything she can to find and save them – She changes as the film progresses, as good characters tend to do.

Personally, I am a fan of Claire Dearing. She was an executive dressed like an executive, a representation of a woman in a position of power. She wasn’t expecting a jungle trek with dinosaurs on her tail, but she makes the best out of her wardrobe, at one point running past Grady’s outstretched hand, not needing his help.

And honestly, there’s nothing sexist about Grady, who’s in touch with nature, helping Claire empathize with the dinos. We saw it with Pocahontas and John Smith in opposite roles, right?

Jurassic World absolutely has its feminist problems. Its lack of women in general, for one. Its weirdly, unnecessarily prolonged death scene of one of the few female characters, for another. The pointless bits where the older nephew is ogling teenage girls. There’s also the downplaying of Claire’s abilities, like when she saves Owen’s and her nephews’ lives but her nephews later say they feel safer with Owen (which is played for laughs).

But I think Claire Dearing herself holds her own as a character of value. Yes, she wears the heels for the entire movie. Yes, she seems out of place in the jungle. But she shoots pterosaurs, drives vans, saves lives, and in the end, while Owen and her nephews are hiding in some ruins, Claire Dearing is the one who summons a T-rex with a flare, outruns it in her heels, and pits it against the terrifying Indominus Rex. She shows bravery, intelligence, and compassion, growing and changing throughout the film.

Of course, a movie about dinosaurs is never really aiming to push a message about women. Jurassic World, like its predecessors, is first and foremost focusing on the giant man-eating lizards.


But it’s always nice to remember that every dinosaur on the island is canonically female.


Jessica Peng (or Jess for short) will be a high school senior this September. She likes sweet foods and bad puns and hopes for a world with a lot more diversity in the media. She's always doodling and sometimes she writes stories. Jess is also the chief editor of her school’s literary journal, as well as an art intern at Grammar Yuniversity.


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