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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Black or White

Where Are the Women Black or White

Sure, bad things happen to girls and women all the time, but how does a man feel about it?

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: 0

[no significant representation of girls/women]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: -14

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


+10
Is there a female villain or antagonist? [why this matters]
-20
Is her villainy/badness defined primarily by her gender (ie, is it related to motherhood, or is it of a sexual nature)? [why this matters]


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

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -13

-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]


-5
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional or biological relationship with a child or children? [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: -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: As far as female representation goes, this movie can be summed up thusly: Sure, bad things happen to girls and women all the time, but how does a man feel about it? This is, alas, practically a traditional way to explore the bad things that happen to girls and women, as far as Hollywood is concerned.


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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of Black or White! 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.) See my rating of Black or White.

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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  • bronxbee

    i must be missing something in your definition of the category “female representation” … aren’t two of the main leading characters female? the little girl and i’m guessing her grandmother (olivia spencer)?

  • The little girl is not much of a character: the story is not about her. And the grandmother is the antagonist: the story isn’t about her either. These female characters exist only to drive the male protagonist in a certain direction.

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