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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? The Green Inferno

Where Are the Women? The Green Inferno

The only character with any sort of arc is a young woman. But she is half-dressed half the time and subject to sexualized torture.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: +25

+25
Is there a female protagonist? [why this matters]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +4

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

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: -15

-5
Is there a female character with significant screen time who dresses less appropriately for the environment than her male counterparts do? [why this matters]
-5
More than one? [why this matters]


-5
Is there a female character with significant screen time who bares her breasts (but doesn’t appear fully nude)? [why this matters]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: 0

[no issues]

WILDCARD SCORE: -10

Is there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)

-5
The real-life horror of female genital mutilation is offered up as a matter of suspense and sexualized titillation here: Will the female protagonist escape being cut in a scene that includes her writhing around naked and screaming in fear? A nightmare that millions of women around the world — including some in Western countries — are subjected to is not appropriate fodder for even cheap exploitation.
-5
While the film contains a lot of brutal violence and gore dished out to men and women alike, only the female characters are subjected to particularly gendered types of abuse, from how “backward” Amazonian natives paw the long blonde hair of young white Western women, to how the women are subjected to genital inspections by the tribal leader (as well as the FGM scene mentioned above). There could have been a young man with long blond hair in the ensemble — it consists of a bunch of activist hippies, after all — but there isn’t. The men could have been stripped of their clothing and their genitals inspected and tormented (there are painful traditional rituals that are customary for men’s genitals in some Amazonian tribes), but they aren’t. This is torture porn with a particular interest in the sexualized torture of women.

TOTAL SCORE: -1

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 only character with any sort of arc is a young woman. And there are several other young women throughout the rest of the ensemble. It is these facts alone that save this film from scoring much worse. This is the sort of movie in which the women are half-dressed — tiny tight tank tops rule — while the men are clothed in multiple layers, and those women are objects of the film’s delight in sexualized torture… but only of women, of course.


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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of The Green Inferno! 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 The Green Inferno.

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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  • Rayna

    You forgot to point out the female teacher at the start of the film. Also the cannibal tribe was matriarchal. This doesn’t count for anything?

  • Rayna

    You also forgot to point out the fact that the female protagonist grows and changes, from a naïve, passive girl — to one more aware of the superficiality of journalism and what tribes really are. The tribe isn’t completely displayed as monsters, spoiler, remember the child who sympathized with her? And the fact that before they dismembered the man, they let him drink a sort of sedative?

    Do your job well. Stop withholding information from your reviews. And do more research on this tribe, it’s matriarchal.

    I’m not saying your review is wrong, it’s just that your opinions are pretty baseless and not supported by enough evidence.

  • You also forgot to point out the fact that the female protagonist grows and changes,

    That is inherent in the 25 points the film gets for a female protagonist.

    And the fact that before they dismembered the man, they let him drink a sort of sedative?

    Seriously?

  • If the matriarch had been anything like an actual villain (that is, an actual character), then the film could have gotten points for that. But it’s the tribe itself that functions as a villain, so that doesn’t quite track. And even, then the film might lose extra points for some of its villainy being gendered (the FGM stuff).

    Please feel free to explain how you think this film represents women well.

  • DISHONEST PEOPLE CAN EAT SHIT

    Wow, she’s an information withholder and a comment deleter, good for you! Before being honest with yourself and acknowledge this woman in a position of authority. Your morphed ideologies of feminism take only parts, not wholes into account, and this is why no one find you credible.

  • Danielm80

    She is in a position of authority, but it’s not because she has vast amounts of power. It’s because she does two things:

    (1.) She writes movie reviews, which some people take very seriously and other people ignore completely. She’s seen hundreds of movies a year, over a couple of decades, which makes her really knowledgeable, but she still has to convince people of her opinion every time she writes something.

    (2.) She writes and edits a website. Sometimes she deletes comments. Mostly she doesn’t, unless they’re really obnoxious or abusive.

    If people disagree with her review, they can explain why. She usually leaves those comments up. If people find the arguments convincing, then those comments are just as credible as her review.

    If you want the same level of power and authority that she has, then you can become a film critic, too, and make a barely-livable amount of money when you post a review.

    The rest of your rant is a little hard for me to follow.

    What do you think her ideology has morphed into? And why is it bad for people’s ideas to change over time?

    Which parts are we focusing on, and which parts have we overlooked?

  • Raina

    Seeing a shit ton of movies and having opinions, which are delivered through her flair for writing does not automatically make her credible.

    Regarding her morphed ideology. My previous argument stated that not everyone in the film was unsympathetic, if you’ve seen the film, you’ll notice a tribal child who was clearly very sympathetic, and through this, he make a pretty huge impact on the overall ending. Also, I pointed out that the tribe was matriarchal, look it up, I feel like if she really wanted to make a valid feminist statement, she would have mentioned this. And finally, in regards to character growth, I made a comment stating that I disagreed with Maryann. I stated that the main girl went from being very naïve, to being someone more aware of the world, and how people are hungry for fame, money etc. like the activists.

    That is all I said, I said nothing derogatory and yet, she deleted it. People who get offended this easily should seriously reconsider even having a comment section.

  • Raina

    Oh and by “acknowledge this woman’s position of authority” I wasn’t talking about Maryann, I was talking about the FEMALE COLLEGE PROFESSOR in the film being discussed. I’ve attached a photo. I felt the need because I feel as though this film represents women better than what she mentioned. Also, the head of the tribe, the one being consulted regarding all tribal matters and decisions, was female. So, female villain. Maryann left a lot out.

  • BraveGamgee

    Whenever anything happens to me that I do not know the reason for, I refuse to assume the worst (until the worst is confirmed without a doubt). If I had a comment that had been deleted, I might assume it was simply an accident (the amount of things that I’ve accidentally deleted is embarrassing). I’d probably confirm with the moderator if they did in fact mean to delete it. If they confirm that they did, I would ask why. Calling a persons honesty into question seems a little hasty.

  • A commenter has been repeatedly deleted because she is someone who has been repeatedly banned and is not welcome here.

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