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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Rock the Kasbah

Where Are the Women? Rock the Kasbah

From a mean ex to a hooker with a heart of gold, women exist in this world only for what they can do for — or to — the male protagonist.


Could the protagonist have been female without significantly impacting the film as a whole? (for a film with a male protagonist) [why this matters]

Is there a woman who is mostly pretty awesome and perfect who is present to support a man improving himself? [why this matters]


[no significant representation of women in authority]


Is a woman or women used as decorative objects/set dressing? [why this matters]
Are one or more either a protagonist or significant supporting character? [why this matters]


Is femininity used as a joke (ie, a man crossdressing for humorous intent) in passing*? (*in this case, the male protagonist appears in a long-haired wig and with lipstick in a scenario that is meant to be embarrassing to him and humorous to the viewer; a tough-guy character admits to reading romance novelist Danielle Steel, which is meant to be funny) [why this matters]

Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional and/or sexual relationship with a man or men? [why this matters]

Is there a hooker with a heart of gold? [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)

It doesn’t quite rise to the level of the “Is a woman paired romantically with a man old enough to be her father?” problem [why this is an issue], but Bill Murray’s character is seen to have a young daughter who appears to be about eight years old, and who is played by a ten-year-old actress. The mother of the child, whom the Murray character is no longer partnered with, is seen only once, briefly, in the background, and heard once, briefly, on the telephone. Murray is 65 years old, though, and it’s safe to assume that when his daughter was born, her mother would most likely have been young enough herself to have been Murray’s daughter. And since she does play a small but essential part in a story that is, in several ways, set in motion by women who screw over the male protagonist, this is worth noting, and deducting a few points for.

There’s also the suggestion, though it’s not fully realized, of a sexual hookup between Zooey Deschanel (born 1980) and Bruce Willis (born 1955), who are 25 years apart in age.


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

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

BOTTOM LINE: Women here are naive dolts to be taken advantage of, flakes who steal from a man, a hooker with heart of gold, a mean ex. The most “postive” depiction of a woman here is the one whose talents the male protagonist can take advantage of. Women exist in this world only for what they can do for — or to — him.

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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of Rock the Kasbah! 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 Rock the Kasbah.

See the full rating criteria. (Criteria that do not apply to this film have been deleted in this rating for maximum readability.)

This project was launched by my generous Kickstarter supporters. You can support this work now by:

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where are the women
  • bronxbee

    whoa! is this the lowest score ever?

  • Danielm80

    Sadly, it’s not even in the bottom ten.

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