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What’s Up With Karen Gillan’s Super Sexualized Jumanji Character Costume?

The first image of the Jumanji cast in full costume has surfaced on the internet, and let me tell you: this sure as hell is not the Jumanji you might remember. Alongside Johnson, whose costume looks like it could be borrowed from the Furious franchise set, you’ve got Jack Black in the jungle equivalent of a lab coat (plus pith helmet because of course), Kevin Hart in a pretty standard civilian explorer’s outfit, and Karen Gillan in… well, that.

I’m going to come right out and say it: what’s up with her super sexualized costume? I mean, just take a look at the leather straps/holster crossing over and between her breasts. The rest of her outfit is totally a riff on Lara Croft—and I mean the old PSX Lara Croft, not the new Tomb Raider Lara Croft. Short camo shorts, a bare midriff, and… again, those weird-as-all-heck breast straps.

This Jumanji remake seems to really subscribe to the “rule” that if you have a female character in your ensemble lineup, she’s going to be overly sexualized. It’s hard to not call this one out, especially given the way in which Johnson announced Gillan’s casting back in August. He referred to Gillan as “girl” multiple times, more or less infantilizing her throughout his announcement. Though the rest of his descriptors were alright, using the word “girl” so many times came off as a little bit patronizing, and more than a little bit sexist.

Between those comments and this costume, it’s really hard to offer the benefit of the doubt to the movie. Make no mistake, either. Johnson is asking for the benefit of the doubt. In his Instagram photo, he shared the names of each of the characters, and in addition to Gillan’s character’s name (which is Ruby Roundhouse, by the way), he wrote, “Her jungle wardrobe will make sense when you know the plot. Trust me ;)”

The last time someone said a character’s wardrobe will make sense once we knew the plot was back when Hideo Kojima tried to address criticism and controversy regarding Quiet’s unbelievably skimpy, barely-there outfit in Metal Gear Solid V. What was the game’s explanation, you ask? Apparently she “breathes” through her skin, absorbing air, water, and nutrients, kind of like how plants use photosynthesis. She’s afflicted with a sci-fi parasite that allows her (forces her?) to do this. So, there you go, that totally explains it. Cue eyerolling.

That’s a video game and this is a movie, for sure, but can you maybe understand now why it’s so hard to “just” give media creators the benefit of the doubt?

The one hope to hold onto that might redeem this movie is that maybe Jumanji intends to be more of a parody, which wouldn’t be too far-fetched, considering the character names. (Dr. Smolder Bravestone, anyone?) Maybe these are all character archetypes/fantasies being played out in a game world by the same people. Who knows. (The original 1995 Jumanji movie that inspired this one was a comedy, although not necessarily the same genre of comedy as this new movie looks to be.)

Whatever you might think about Gillan’s costume, general feelings around the Jumanji remake remain mixed at best. While some folks seem to be excited about this first-look photo, others have taken it (and Black’s presence, apparently) as a sign that this movie might not be exactly what they’re hoping for.

(via io9)

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Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (, and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters ( She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.