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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Grandma

Where Are the Women? Grandma

This is the rare film with hardly any men onscreen; the only significant two exist within the story as nothing but romantic and/or sexual adjuncts to women.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: +25

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

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +6

+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]


+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: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -4

-5
Is there a female character whose primary goal is romantic (to get married, enter into a longterm relationship with a man, etc)? [why this matters]
+6
Is the object or potential object of her affection and attraction a woman or women? [why this matters]


-5
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional or biological relationship with a child or children? [why this matters]

WILDCARD SCORE: +5

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

The film is overtly about an issue that impacts almost women in one way or another — access to abortion — that is almost entirely ignored on the big screen… and the film handles it in a way that is not politicized yet that also underscores its necessity if women are to be in control of their own lives.

TOTAL SCORE: +32

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: This is the rare film with hardly any men onscreen, and the only significant two exist within the story as nothing but romantic and/or sexual adjuncts to women. Yet while they are less characters than representations of ideas, as female adjuncts to men often are, they represent men’s perspectives — in this case, two different ways that men react when the women they are sleeping with become pregnant — which is more than can be typically said about female adjuncts to men, who typically represent not their own perspectives but how men feel about them. So even though men are barely present in this story, they are still more present than in the vast majority of movies in which gender representation is swapped.


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

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

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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