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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? While We’re Young

WATWwhilewereyoung

Despite allusions to the careers of the two main female characters, they are primarily adjuncts to their men, whose stories are all about their work.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: 0

-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]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: 0

[no significant representation of women in authority]

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: 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: -8

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: While there are allusions to the work the two main female characters do here — Naomi Watts is a documentary film producer; Amanda Seyfried makes artisanal ice cream — we never actually see them working, and their work bears only the slenderest impact on the story. They are primarily defined as emotional and sexual adjuncts of the men at the center of the story, and what little journeys they take are about the relationships (though the men’s stories are primarily about their work).


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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of While We’re Young! 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 While We’re Young.

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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