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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? The Boxtrolls

WATWboxtrolls

The only female presence is the daughter of a male authority figure… unless we also count the man in drag. Even the fantastical boxtrolls all read as male.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: -5

-10
Could the protagonist have been female without significantly impacting the film as a whole? (for a film with a male protagonist) [why this matters]


+10
Is there a female character with significant screen time who grows, changes, and/or learns something over the course of the story? (for an ensemble cast, or a film with a male protagonist) [why this matters]
-5
Is she the only woman in an otherwise all-male ensemble? [why this matters]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: 0

[no significant representation of women in authority]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -30

-5
Is femininity used as a joke (ie, a man crossdressing for humorous intent) in passing? [why this matters]
-20
In a way essential to the movie? [why this matters]


-5
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional and/or sexual relationship with a man or men? [why this matters]

WILDCARD SCORE: 0

Is there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)

No.

TOTAL SCORE: -35

IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)

IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? Yes, one of two credited (Irena Brignull) (does not impact scoring)

BOTTOM LINE: The only female presence is the daughter of a male authority figure who’s only present in the story because of her father’s position. Unless we also count the male villain who frequently employs a drag disguise. Even the fantastical boxtrolls all read as male. This is completely typical for Hollywood, and it’s most insidious in children’s movies: Do we really want to teach our kids that girls are, almost literally, the odd man out?


Click here for the ranking of 2014’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

NOTE: This is not a “review” of The Boxtrolls! It is simply an examination of how well or how poorly it represents women. (A movie that represents women well can still be a terrible film; a movie that represents women poorly can still be a great film.) Read my review of The Boxtrolls.

See the full rating criteria. (Criteria that do not apply to this film have been deleted in this rating for maximum readability.)


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where are the women

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