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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Man Up

Where Are the Women Man Up

Hooray for a story about a woman, but boo for how retrograde it is. This is a movie about literally nothing except her romantic desperation.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: +25

+25
Is there a female 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: -25

-5
Is there a female character whose primary goal is romantic (to get married, enter into a longterm relationship with a man, etc)? [why this matters]


-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*? (*in this case adult children) [why this matters]


-10
Does a man police or attempt to police a woman’s sexual agency? [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)

The film makes a joke out of its female protagonist having a creepy, sexually aggressive stalker, to the point of suggesting that it might be a good thing that there’s a man in her life who knows where she lives, right down to the Google coordinates.

TOTAL SCORE: -5

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

IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? Yes (Tess Morris) (does not impact scoring)

BOTTOM LINE: We know zip about the female protagonist except that she does not have a boyfriend… which is, as we all know, the biggest disaster that can befall a woman. Hooray for a story about a woman, but boo for how retrograde it is. This is a movie about literally nothing except her romantic desperation.


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

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

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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