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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Racing Extinction

Where Are the Women? Racing Extinction

The vast majority of people who appear on camera in this documentary are men… and most of the few women who do appear do not speak to the camera.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: 0

[no significant representation of girls/women]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +2

+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]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: 0

[no issues]

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: +2

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: The vast majority of people who appear on camera in this talking-head-style documentary are men… and most of the few women who do appear do not speak to the camera. (There is a female translator in segments that take place in China, for instance, but she is incidental to the gist of what we’re meant to be taking from these scenes.) It’s long into the film’s running time before we hear from any women in positions of authority, who speak to the audience as experts, and then there are only two of them: Jane Goodall, the primatologist and environmentalist, whose authority is significant and unimpeachable; and race-car driver and activist Leilani Münter, who might not typically be considered an authority figure, but part of why she is important here is in how she is able to dictate to her team the sort of sponsors she considers acceptable (ie, no fossil fuels). Still, this is better than many other documentaries offer.


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

Click here for the ranking of 2015’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

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

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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