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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Manglehorn

Where Are the Women? Manglehorn

Women! Why can’t they be happy simply keeping a man happy?

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: -10

-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: 0

[no significant representation of women in authority]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -10

-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 a woman paired romantically with a man old enough to be her father? [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)

Almost the most prominent female “character” here isn’t here at all: she is the ex the male protagonist cannot get over, and he talks about her incessantly, even while he’s on a date with another woman. As with the trope of the absent-because-she’s-dead-mother, this is problematic because it’s a way to have a female influence in a story without actually having another female character in the mix. And it’s almost the ultimate expression of the trope of women as important in a story only for how they can help a man on his personal journey [why this matters].

TOTAL SCORE: -25

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: Women! If they’re not running away from a man and leaving him in lonely misery, they’re getting offended when he won’t shut up about his lost love to a prospective new one. Why can’t they be happy simply keeping a man happy?


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

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

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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