ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Horrible Truth About Steven Spielberg's Jaws

Updated on August 19, 2020
Sychophantastic profile image

I'm an eclectic gal with many diverse interests. They include relationships, film, trivia, and an assortment of other things.

Jaws is Anti-Woman

Steven Spielberg directed Jaws. It hit theaters in 1975. Peter Benchley's novel of the same name is the basis for the film. He published the book in 1974.

The movie and the book land squarely in the middle of the ERA movement. So while Jaws isn't a statement about the ERA, there's clear evidence in the movie that Spielberg was thinking about it. Was he thinking negatively or positively? We'll never know. Sometimes a director reflects his own thinking in a film. Sometimes he's tickling the zeitgeist, so to speak.

Regardless, it's pretty clear. Jaws hates women.

A Short History of the ERA

There's a reason I'm going to provide a short history of the ERA, the Equal Rights Amendment. That's because it coincides with the making and release of Jaws. In other words, what happens in Jaws necessarily reflects its time. All movies, in some way, reflect their time. Thus, sometimes we can read into particular scenes. Part of Jaws, reflects an attitude toward women.

Women have been fighting for equal rights for as long as there have been women. In the United States, that fight began, in earnest, during the 1960s. Many people point to the publication of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique published in 1963 as its start. Historians regard this as the second wave of feminism. Of course, the first involved the right to vote earlier in the century.

Friedan would go on to co-found the National Organization of Women in 1966 (NOW). The organization worked to end sex discrimination. Women focused on the Equal Rights Amendment and in 1971 and 1972, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the bill. Congress set a date in 1979 for states to ratify it. However, conservative women, led by Phyllis Schafly, mobilized against it.

So that's probably all you need to know about the ERA. Suffice it to say, women had a lot going on at this time. They marched. They protested and burned bras. Stuff like that. Women made a lot of demands that not all men liked. Heck, not all women liked the demands either. Let's just say, men saw their lives changing one way or the other. Some felt positive about the change. Other men preferred sharks eat the women so they'd shut up.

The movement had another important component. Women created The Sexual Revolution by making their own choices. Many felt this amounted to uncontrolled promiscuity. Women felt they were simply making the same decisions men made about sex. Again, some men found this behavior unbecoming and not ladylike. Men lost some control and they didn't like it.

The issue of women having the same sexual behaviors as men was an issue.

The Opening Scene of Jaws

Everybody remembers the opening scene of Jaws. Sort of. What most people remember is that a giant shark kills a woman who is swimming in the ocean. However, most people fail to remember the details leading up to that swim. They're important.

The opening scene involves a gathering of young people on the beach. They are sitting around a fire. A man is playing the harmonica. A couple is kissing. A young man is smoking and drinking. He spots a young woman. She smiles at him. He smiles back. He approaches and they talk. Quickly, she runs off. He follows.

"What's your name again?" he yells.

"Chrissie!"

"Where are we going?

"Swimming!" she says.

As she runs, she disrobes and says nothing more. The man, who is a bit drunk, follows. Three times, he says he's coming. He's coming. He's definitely coming. He falls down an embankment. Chrissie, naked, dives into the water and swims away.

Those aren't the man's last words before passing out on the beach at the edge of the water, but they're the most significant. He says that he's coming three different times.

The shark kills Chrissie. The man lays on the beach. He's coming.

Those words aren't coincidental. They're intentional. There are two different meanings. The subtext of this scene is that the man is experiencing sexual climax.

What Does Chrissie Get For Being Sexually Aggressive?

Why does the scene play out the way it does? Why is Chrissie the one who makes it in the water, but the man doesn't? Is he not saved by the fact that he drank too much?

Effectively, the movie punishes Chrissie for her behavior. Meanwhile, the guy, drunk and barely able to walk, survives. He achieve climax. Chrissie gets eaten by the shark. He is rewarded for his behavior. She is punished for hers.

So look at this in the context of the times. The guy, who is any guy - we never learn his name - wants this woman. Chrissie responds, runs, disrobes, and jumps in the water. He chases. She dies. He lives.

Say what you want, but Jaws punishes Chrissie for flirting. If only she had been more chaste. If only she hadn't flirted. She probably she just have stayed home.

Keep your pants on, Chrissie!

(from left to right) Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider, Richard Drefuss
(from left to right) Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider, Richard Drefuss

The Rest of Jaws

After Chrissie, Jaws does not devour any other women. That's probably because there aren't anymore around. Well, that's not entirely true. There are women around, but none of them have more than a few seconds of screen time.

The rest of the movie is all about male bonding. Because, you know, women need rescuing. Behave irresponsibly and the only way to resolve the situation is for men to solve it.

Sheriff Brody (Scheider), Matt Hooper (Dreyfuss), and Sam Quint (Shaw), join forces to hunt the menacing shark. The Sheriff has no particular skill, but Hooper is a shark expert and Quint is a professional shark hunter. So, of course, Brody is the one who ends up killing the shark. That's because even a sea sick, ill-prepared man can miraculously shoot a helium tank when the need arises. That's just how men are.

Among the most memorable scenes in the movie not involving the shark, was the scar comparison scene. This is testosterone-fueled male bonding at its best. Essentially, the three men are comparing genital sizes. Who is the toughest? That's what men do.

Maybe you're thinking to yourself: well, Quint gets eaten. Does the movie hate men too? No, it doesn't. Jaws clearly loves its men. It just hates its women. Women deserve what they get. Men earn what they get. They decide.

Conclusion

Jaws is male chauvinism at its finest.

Chrissie is really the only person who doesn't know there's a shark in the water. Pretty much, everyone else after that, with the exception of a few swimmers, deserves what they get. They all run toward trouble. It's not like Quint was going to die any other way.

Ultimately, Chrissie is the only one punished for her sex. Her decision has nothing to do with the shark. It has to do with a man. And she pays the price. The men, they're climaxing all over the place.

Jaws hates women.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Sychophantastic

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)