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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

Where Are the Women? Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

With the female chipmunk trio the Chipettes sidelined, women here are represented primarily via the (human) girlfriend of the Chipmunks’ human pal Dave.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: 0

[no significant representation of girls/women]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +4

+1
Is there a female character with insignificant screen time in a position of authority? [why this matters]
+1
More than one? [why this matters]


+2
Is there a woman whose role could easily have been played by a man? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: -5

-5
Is a woman or women used as decorative objects/set dressing? [why this matters]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -20

-5
Is femininity used as a joke (ie, a man crossdressing for humorous intent) in passing*? (*in this case, a female babysitter completely ignores her charges in favor of gossiping on the phone) [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]


-10
Does a man police or attempt to police a woman’s sexual agency? [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: -21

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

IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? Yes, one of two credited (Randi Mayem Singer) (does not impact scoring)

BOTTOM LINE: With the female singing chipmunk trio the Chipettes sidelined — they appear, briefly, but have little to do with the story — women here are represented primarily via a female (human) pop star — who also appears only very briefly — and the girlfriend of the Chipmunks’ human pal and “dad” Dave, who does absolutely nothing but girlfriend. (The girlfriend is a doctor, allegedly, but we never see her doctoring and her work seems to be mostly a way for the Chipmunks to get ahold of a stethoscope for one mildly comic bit.) None of that is terribly surprising. What is surprising is the scene in which the Chipmunks — which are, recall, not human; they are small arboreal rodents — express approval of a bevy of bikini-wearing human women. That’s even more gross than the “women as decorative objects” trope usually is.


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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip! 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 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip.

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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