Does a man (in this case, the alpha male of the troop) police or attempt to police a woman’s sexual agency? [why this matters]
Is he rebuked for it, either directly (by a character onscreen) or indirectly (by how it is depicted)? [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)
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: Documentaries can be tricky to rate for female representation, and even trickier when the subjects aren’t even human. But here we explore the life of a troop of macaque monkeys via the travails of a female subject, some of which involves her becoming a mother, though that is far from the totality of it. And the film is narrated by a woman, Tina Fey; that’s a position of authority that documentaries typically grant to men. These may seem like little things, but they have a big impact.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of Monkey Kingdom! 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 Monkey Kingdom.