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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Listening

Where Are the Women? Listening

Woman: she can be a wife and mother, or she can be a sexy genius scientist who enjoys strutting about the lab showing a lot of skin.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: -20

-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]


-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: -5

-5
Is there a woman who dies (either onscreen or off) whose death motivates a male protagonist? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: -40

-5
Is there a female character with significant screen time who dresses less appropriately for the environment than her male counterparts do? [why this matters]


-5
Is a woman or women used as decorative objects/set dressing? [why this matters]
-10
Are one or more either a protagonist or significant supporting character? [why this matters]
-20
Is this a major recurring visual motif? [why this matters]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -8

-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]


-3
Is a dead mother mentioned? [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: -73

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: Woman: she can be a wife and mother, or she can be a sexy genius scientist who enjoys strutting about the lab showing a lot of skin, attempting to seduce her hapless male coworkers. What else is there for a woman to do?


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

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

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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  • RogerBW

    Female skin is of course immune to all possible lab accidents, so lady scientists don’t need to wear protective clothing.

  • Oh, there were all sorts of unscientific things going on in that lab.

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