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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Do You Believe?

Where Are the Women? Do You Believe?

Most of the women here are defined solely as wives and mothers. (There is a lady lawyer… but lady-lawyering has been bad for her soul, natch.)

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: 0

+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]


-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: 0

+5
Is there a female character (either a protagonist or a supporting character with significant screen time) in a position of authority (politics, law, medicine, etc.)? [why this matters]
-5
Is her authority presented as having a negative impact on her life? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -15

-5
Is there a female character whose primary goal is to become a mother? [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? [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: -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: Most of the female characters here are defined solely as wives and mothers. There is a lady lawyer… but lady-lawyering has made her hard, cold, and cynical (which is bad for her soul, natch). There is at least one female character who gets to change and grow… but there’s at least one other female character who is nothing more than perfect saintly support for a man. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.


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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of Do You Believe?! 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 Do You Believe?.

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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