[no significant representation of women in authority]
THE MALE GAZE SCORE:0
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional and/or sexual relationship with a man or men? [why this matters]
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional or biological relationship with a child or children? [why this matters]
Is there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)
While a woman isn’t exactly kidnapped in order to motivate a male protagonist [why this is a problem], a woman does disappear mysteriously, and this motivates the male protagonist to try to find her. Why she disappears is explicitly described as not the purpose of this story; the movie wants to be very clear that this story is not about her at all.
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: Wants to tell a story all about how young women are people with their own hopes and dreams, like young men have, who are confused and uncertain about their lives and the world, like young men are, and are not fantasy objects for young men… and it does it by outright refusing to let the main female character speak about her life, and actually removes her from the narrative for half of the film while the male protagonist pursues her like a fantasy object. This takes the lack of female representation onscreen to an obnoxious new level.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of Paper Towns! 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 Paper Towns.