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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Guardians of the Galaxy

WATWguardiansgalaxy

Kudos to the film for including more than one token women in its mix. Too bad the (male) CGI cyber-raccoon is more fully realized than any of them are.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: -20

-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 woman who is mostly pretty awesome and perfect who is present to support a man improving himself? [why this matters]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +5

+1
Is there a female character with insignificant screen time in a position of authority? [why this matters]


+2
Is there a woman whose role could easily have been played by a man? [why this matters]
+2
More than one? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -8

-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]


-3
Is a dead mother mentioned? [why this matters]

WILDCARD SCORE: -5

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

From the film’s hero forgetting that a woman he has obviously been having sex with is still present on his ship to ribbing he takes over an apparently disgusting nonhuman alien woman he has slept with, jokes about women as sexual playthings to be used and discarded are an unfortunate motif of the movie’s humor.

TOTAL SCORE: -28

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: Kudos to the film for including more than one token women in its mix. Too bad the (male) CGI cyber-raccoon is more fully realized, more complex, and more sympathetic than any of them are. Being overt and obvious about the tropes you’re playing with — such as the “woman makes hero a better man” cliché — doesn’t really work as a joke when you embrace them with gusto anyway.


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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of Guardians of the Galaxy! 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 Guardians of the Galaxy.

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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