Feminists Can Fight Dinosaurs in High Heels (if They So Choose)


This weekend I took the bus all the way to Wood Green. I've never been to Wood Green before. In our raincoats, and supplied with peanut M&Ms, my boyfriend and I paid extortionate rates to go see Jurassic World because I fucking love Dinosaurs. It was mildly worth it. The whole first half of the film was unbearably cheesy, but the dinosaurs were awesome (particularly my favourite, the stegosaurus). But my favourite scene in the whole film lasted about four seconds, and was right near the end. Hidden beneath all the roaring, the adorable tiny triceratops, and the terrible sibling relationship, there was a feminist twinge. Besides Claire being a very capable career woman, she takes on the 'manly' qualities. She sees the dinosaurs as assets for financial gain, while Owen sense them as sensitive living creatures.The film is obviously wildly unrealistic, but at the end when she baits herself with a flare to a T-Rex, there is a four second shot of her feet, as she runs headlong into the dino-fray. Still In her heels.

She stays in her heels the whole bloody film. I mean running through mud, jumping over logs, driving giant trucks, and even crawling away from a psychopathic genetically modified raptor/tree frog/cuttle fish monster. The men are carrying guns and wearing riot gear - and are busy getting eaten. Claire has her moments of fear, tears, and panic - but she keeps those heels on and she does what she needs to do. Watching her run in those shoes was impressive, and I was very glad she never took them off.

When you search google images for 'high heels memes' you get a slew of mysoginistic crap (and a funny philosoraptor one). Shoes are just another part of being a woman that is policed and politicised. It becomes a lose-lose situation - unless we reclaim shoes as one symbol within many that are part of what we choose as autonomous human beings. Which is our freedom. Just as men should be able to choose to wear dresses if they want. While our language may not assign genders to objects, as a society we have anyway.

Those of us who have chosen to wear heels have probably run in them at one time or another. And we've all probably fallen over, embarrassingly, mid-stride. Claire did no such thing. She didn't whinge about her feet hurting. I like to think I wouldn't whinge about shoes if I were being chased by a dinosaur, but who knows. What it takes for her to 'transform' from coiffed career woman to dino fighting heroine is to remove her belt, which probably would've fallen off. Oh, yeah, and to adopt the "feminine" characteristics of seeing the dinosaurs as feeling, living things.

I saw the story as a distinctly feminist one. The characters' survival relies on them caring about each other, and about the world and creatures around them. Without those bonds, they would all have been eaten by raptors. Literally. Another sub-plot feminist moment was when Laura Lapkus' character rebuffs Jake Johnson's advances by saying "I have a boyfriend". When Johnson expresses his polite disbelief because she never spoke about it, she replies with "well yeah I'm at work." Hurray for women not being written as boy obsessed gossip mongers!

I don't think it meant to be feminist, and there were definitely moments it could've been better. And of course womanliness shouldn't be defined by whether we wear heels or not. But for Claire's character, a woman who obviously loves them, her ability defeat dinosaurs and save her nephews, all the while in very cool high heels is definitely a feminist stand.