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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Spring

WATWspring

This film is an especially egregious example of a woman’s personal awesomeness being good for nothing onscreen but making a man feel better about himself.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: -10

-10
Is there a manic pixie dream girl? [why this matters]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: -5

-5
Is there a woman who dies (either onscreen or off) whose death motivates a male protagonist? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: -5

-5
Is there a female character with significant screen time who bares her breasts (but doesn’t appear fully nude)? [why this matters]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -5

-5
Is there a female character whose primary goal is to become a mother? [why this matters]

WILDCARD SCORE: -2

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

Though it’s not a recurring motif, this is so glaring that it’s worth highlighting: When the male protagonist first meets the female love interest and approaches her to indicate his interest in her, they are at an outdoor cafe. He is wearing a shearling jacket (and the male friends he is with are wearing multiple layers of clothing), but she is dressed in a short strapless dress. (You can see this in the image at the top of this page.) Either everyone else is overdressed for the weather, or she is freezing. Or else the filmmakers just wanted her to show as much skin as possible.

TOTAL SCORE: -27

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: By far the most interesting and complicated character here is not the center of the story, and it’s hard to see why that’s the case except that the most interesting and complicated character here is a woman, and it’s her job in the story to reassure a man that he is okay. This is an especially egregious example of a woman’s uniqueness and personal awesomeness being good for nothing onscreen but making a man feel better about himself.


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

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

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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