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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? The Hateful Eight

Where Are the Women? The Hateful Eight

An opportunity for a female villain whose crimes are not gendered is squandered in favor of rendering her a punching bag for male protagonists.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: 0

[no significant representation of girls/women]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: -1

+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]


-5
Is there a woman who dies (either onscreen or off) whose death motivates a male protagonist? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE 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)

In a manner more typical of horror movies, director Quentin Tarantino revels in the murders of women, mining suspense from their approaching deaths and ensuring that we miss no details of their brutalization and the vacant looks of surprise frozen on their dead faces; men are dispatched in far more circumspect ways that protect their dignity. And even very bad male characters are not treated with the gleeful violence that the central female character, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, receives, which is allegedly justified in a metacontextual way by her supposed villainy. But unlike with her male counterparts, who commit the aforementioned murders of women, we witness no bad behavior of hers. But for her, Tarantino employs a trope of pornography, gushing blood directly into her face, multiple times, in a way similar to XXX “cum shots” that are meant to degrade the women who are subjected to them.

TOTAL SCORE: -11

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: An opportunity for a female villain whose crimes are not gendered is squandered in favor of rendering her a punching bag for male protagonists. The central female character is here to be beaten up — which is intended to be justifiable because she is a criminal, although we have little evidence of that beyond the word of the man beating her up, and far more firsthand evidence of the criminality of men who are not treated anywhere near as poorly as she is. Other women appear briefly, just before they are murdered.


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 The Hateful Eight! 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 Hateful Eight.

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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