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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Self/less

Where Are the Women? Self/less

This is a movie in which a woman is instructed to “wait in the car” while the male protagonist goes inside to continue driving the story. And she does.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: -10

-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]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: -15

-5
Is there a woman who is kidnapped (either onscreen or off) whose kidnap motivates a male protagonist? [why this matters]
-10
Is there more than one woman who is kidnapped in order to motivate a male protagonist? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: -10

-5
Is a woman or women used as decorative objects/set dressing? [why this matters]
-5
Does this include gratuitous “booty” shots? [why this matters]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -15

-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]


-5
Is a woman paired romantically with a man old enough to be her father? [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: -50

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 aren’t participants in the story here: they are motivating factor for the men whose actions drive the plot, often because other men are threatening those women. The sidelining of women is best encapsulated by one scene in which a woman is instructed to “wait in the car” while the male protagonist goes inside to continue driving the story. And like a good little girl, she does.


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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of Self/less! 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 Self/less.

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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