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]
Does a man police or attempt to police a woman’s sexual agency? [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)
Usually, a movie that doesn’t have women in mind is better off not having any women onscreen at all; you can’t treat women badly if they’re not present. But this film is an exception. In a true story about men who are angry because they are powerless and treated injustly, it is an affront to exclude real incidents of violence one of them committed against women not only because their absence makes a man look better than he might otherwise, but also because such incidents are another example of that power dynamic at work… and here, those angry men are the perpetrators.
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? Yes, one of four credited (Andrea Berloff) (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: Women are barely present here, making only brief appearances as angry mothers, devoted wives, or — most frequently — as anonymous sexual playthings for men, rewards for their success and fame.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of Straight Outta Compton! 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 Straight Outta Compton.