Last week, The Engineer and I finally watched “The Bee Movie,” mainly because several friends insisted we had to see it.
If you’re a fan of the flick, please close this window and walk away now.
For those who have chosen to continue reading, let me first say I understand the film is not a documentary meant to educate, but a children’s movie. But, I also know children’s learning is not confined to the classroom. With minds like sponges, they absorb information in whatever form it takes.
Let’s begin with what “The Bee Movie” got right.
- Humor — The film had some great one-liners.
- The brevity of a bee’s life. Workers live 40-60 days, unless they are born in the fall to live through the winter.
- The close relation of most bees in a hive — The movie called them cousins, which is close enough to get the point across. In reality, they are usually siblings and half-siblings.
- The amount of work it takes for bees to make honey. Eight to twelve bees work their whole life to make one teaspoon.
- The important role of bees in pollination. One out of every three bites of food we eat requires insect pollination.
Now, let’s look at what the movie got wrong.
- Most beekeepers are not villains. Like all humans, there are bad beekeepers and good ones. Most the ones I know but are genuinely attached to — if not enthralled by — their bees.
- Using a smoker is not evil. It disrupts the bees, which helps prevent stings, but beekeepers are taught to use as little as possible.
- Bees don’t stay at one job until they die. Worker bees move through several roles in their lifetime.
- Which leads to my biggest gripe about this movie: WORKER BEES ARE FEMALE AND THEY DO ALL THE WORK!!!
“Pollen jocks”? Seriously? In a hive, drones do two things: Eat and fly to the drone congregation area (DCA) to try to mate with a queen. Oh, and die. I guess that’s actually three things.
If you have been reading my blog or know anything about bees, you already understand this.
So, why did Jerry Seinfeld write a film about “pollen jocks”? I can only assume he had a deep-seated need to be the voice of the lead character (Barry B.Benson), and thus decided to re-write nature.
Seriously, writing about male bees pollinating is like writing about bulls giving birth. A complete fallacy.
Meanwhile, the females in the movie get to spend all their time oohing and ahing over the “pollen jocks” or, in the case of Barry B. Benson’s mother, acting the role of a 50s housewife.
I know, I know, you’re probably saying, “Kym, it’s just a kid’s movie. What does it matter?”
It matters because the movie implies adventure is confined to the males of every species, including the insect world, which is untrue. It matters because, once again, little girls see boys having all the fun while the females in the movie are confined to the sidelines.
Okay, so I sound like a raging feminist. That’s okay. I am a feminist, and right now, I am raging.
But back to the movie — why couldn’t the lead role have been a (factually accurate) female worker bee having the same adventures Barry B. Benson did? There is no logical reason to reverse the facts.
I don’t expect an animated children’s movie to be completely accurate, but this movie could have easily been both factual and fun.
Instead, it left me angry, bee-wildered, and disappointed on behalf of our girls and all girls.