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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Furious 7 (aka Fast & Furious 7)

WATWfurious7

The presence of more than one woman in fairly significant roles is overwhelmingly negated by how nearly all women are presented for a horny male gaze.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: +2

+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]
+2
Is she nonwhite? [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: +1

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

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: -45

-5
Is a woman or women used as decorative objects/set dressing? [why this matters]
-10
Are one or more either a protagonist or significant supporting character? [why this matters]
-20
Is this a major recurring visual motif? [why this matters]
-5
Does this include breasts bouncing in slo-mo? [why this matters]
-5
Does this include gratuitous “booty” shots? [why this matters]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -5

-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: -5

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

Michelle Rodriguez’s character is the one who gets points as “a female character with significant screen time who grows, changes, and/or learns something over the course of the story.” But all her growing and changing occurs offscreen. Early on she announces that she has to “find [her]self,” which is just an excuse for her to disappear for a while. At the end of the film, she announces that she has indeed found herself, and what she has found is so dramatic that it really needs more development than it gets (which is none).

TOTAL SCORE: -52

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: The presence of more than one woman in fairly significant roles is overwhelmingly negated by how their stories get backseated, and often they are also treated as decorative objects presented for a horny male gaze. There’s a female hacker (played by Nathalie Emmanuel), for instance, who might traditionally have been played by a guy… except the fact that she’s a woman means she is inevitably subjected to a lascivious camera crawling up her bikini-clad body — because of course she’s a “hot” hacker — representing several male characters ogling her (and also for the benefit of the presumed male viewer). And while the male characters could be deemed more than averagely attractive, they are not reduced by the camera to nothing more than their bodies; the camera barely seems to notice their attractiveness at all. And of course there is no race scene here that does not feature numerous anonymous noncharacter women shaking their near-naked asses and boobs in the camera.


Click here for the ongoing ranking of 2015’s films for female representation.

NOTE: This is not a “review” of Furious 7! 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 Furious 7.

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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posted in:
where are the women
  • Debbie

    I am sort of curious about the part Rhonda Rousey plays. Does she have a big part or no?

  • She’s a bodyguard for a prince in Abu Dhabi in one scene. She’s basically there to get in a chick fight between her and Michelle Rodriguez. At least they don’t get naked.

  • LaSargenta
  • God forbid, Hollywood should create a movie for men. Almost all of modern media is designed for the female gaze. I don’t think many men are watching “Dancing with the Stars” or 50 Shades of Garbage.

  • I hate it too.

  • God forbid, Hollywood should create a movie for men.

    Bwahahahahahahahaha!

    I’m dying here. Thanks for the laugh.

    And here we have a new version of “But Ripley!”: It’s “But Fifty Shades of Grey!”

  • Is this what passes for a counter-argument, nowadays?

  • You thought your comment constituted an argument?

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