Is there a female character with insignificant screen time in a position of authority? [why this matters]
THE MALE GAZE SCORE:0
Is femininity used as a joke (ie, a man crossdressing for humorous intent) in passing*? (*in this case, both a love of daytime soaps and over-the-top female dress are held up for ridicule) [why this matters]
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]
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? Yes, one of two credited (Annie Mumolo) (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: Any story about a woman pursuing goals beyond love and motherhood is a turn for the better. This one does lose a few points, however, for making fun of peculiarly feminine tastes — for soap operas (via the female protagonist’s mother), for dressing in extremely feminine ways (via the HSN hosts whose look the female protagonist rebels against) — without even hinting for the reasons why women might be drawn to such things. Still, the film remains in overall positive territory when it comes to women’s representation.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of Joy! 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 Joy.