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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? What Happened, Miss Simone?

Where Are the Women? What Happened Miss Simone?

The best way to represent women well onscreen is simply to make movies about women. Maybe occasionally about a woman who isn’t white. That’s it.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: +30

+25
Is there a female protagonist? [why this matters]
+5
Is she nonwhite? [why this matters]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +2

+5
Is there a female character (either a protagonist or a supporting character with significant screen time) in a position of authority (politics, law, medicine, etc.)? [why this matters]
-5
Is her authority presented as having a negative impact on her life? [why this matters]
+2
Is she nonwhite? [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: +32

IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? Yes (Liz Garbus) (does not impact scoring)

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

BOTTOM LINE: The best way to represent women well onscreen is simply to make movies about women. Maybe occasionally about a woman who isn’t white. That’s it.


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 What Happened, Miss Simone?! 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 What Happened, Miss Simone?.

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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