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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? The Keeping Room

Where Are the Women? The Keeping Room

A fantastic example of how shifting to women’s perspectives can lend an exciting freshness to tired genres.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: +25

+25
Is there a female protagonist? [why this matters]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: 0

[no significant representation of women in authority]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: 0

-10
Does a man police or attempt to police a woman’s sexual agency? [why this matters]
+10
Is he rebuked for it, either directly (by a character onscreen) or indirectly (by how it is depicted)? [why this matters]

WILDCARD SCORE: +5

Is there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)

The film directly addresses issues of an environment of pervasive sexual assault that women live in, and the actions that women engage in and the attitudes that women evince that help them deal with that.

TOTAL SCORE: +30

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

IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? Yes (Julia Hart) (does not impact scoring)

BOTTOM LINE: With three central female characters holding their own and retaining their humanity in a world in which men dominate — and in particular in a historical setting in which we haven’t seen many women’s stories — this is a fantastic example of how shifting to women’s perspectives can lend an exciting freshness to tired genres.


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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of The Keeping Room! 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 The Keeping Room.

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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where are the women

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