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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Krampus

WATWkrampus

While some of the nastily gendered humor here is initially positioned as worthy of punishment, eventually it is cast as just another lovable family quirk.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: +10

+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]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: -5

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

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -15

-5
Is femininity used as a joke (ie, a man crossdressing for humorous intent) in passing*? (*in this case, a little boy named Max is called “Maxi Pad” several times by his older female cousins) [why this matters]


-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]


-5
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional or biological relationship with a child or children*? (*in this case, adult children) [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)

In a reversal of the “femininity as a joke” trope, but just as problematic, two tween girls are the butt of an ongoing joke because they reject all things feminine and enjoy football, violent toys, and other things coded masculine.

TOTAL SCORE: -15

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: While there are plenty of women here — the ensemble cast is reasonably gender-balanced — nearly every woman here is defined solely through her relationships with men or with children. And while some of the nastily gendered humor here is initially positioned as “bad” and worthy of punishment, eventually it is cast as just another lovable family quirk that no one should get too upset about.


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

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

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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