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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Fantastic Four

Where Are the Women? Fantastic Four

This is a case of a film doing the absolute minimum it needs to in order not to be considered outright sexist.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: +5

+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]
-5
Is she the only woman in an otherwise all-male ensemble? [why this matters]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +2

+2
Is there a woman whose role could easily have been played by a man? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -5

-5
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional or biological relationship with a child or children? [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: +2

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: Apart from the Lone Girl on the otherwise all-boy team of superheroes, there are only two women with speaking roles in this film, both of whom appear only extremely briefly in single scenes: the mother of one of the male coprotagonists, and a soldier. (The film is, of course, packed with men with speaking roles of all sorts of sizes.) It’s only the fact that soldier could have been played by a man that gets this movie even slightly into positive territory. This is a case of a film doing the absolute minimum it needs to in order not to be considered outright sexist.


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

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

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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