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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? A Walk in the Woods

WATWwalkwoods

The most significant female character here is the male protagonist’s wife… and she is introduced in a scene in which she is, literally, vacuuming.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: 0

[no significant representation of girls/women]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +2

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

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -25

-5
Is femininity used as a joke (ie, a man crossdressing for humorous intent) in passing*? (*in this case, a fat woman’s large lingerie is held up for ridicule) [why this matters]


-5
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional and/or sexual relationship with a man or men? [why this matters]


-10
Does a man police or attempt to police a woman’s sexual agency? [why this matters]


-5
Is a woman paired romantically with a man old enough to be her father? [why this matters]

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: -23

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 most significant female character here is the male protagonist’s wife… and she is introduced in a scene in which she is, literally, vacuuming. Then she goes on to become a nag, though of course a loving and supportive one. Most of the other women in this film are either annoying chatterboxes or “amusingly” slutty. The only woman who could be construed as depicted in a wholly positive way — a kindly motel owner with whom the male protagonist enjoys a brief flirtation — is ultimately treated very poorly (the male protagonist skips out on his bill and leaves damage behind). Even worse, the movie doesn’t even seem to realize that its putative hero has done anything wrong.


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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of A Walk in the Woods! 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 A Walk in the Woods.

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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posted in:
where are the women
  • Jurgan

    You might want to double-check your math- “sexuality” should add up to -25, so the total is -23.

  • bronxbee

    there should be extra points taken off just for using emma thompson in any way other than fabulous.

  • Oh wow! Thanks for pointing that out. I think that’s the first time I made a mistake in the tally… and with the second to last rating.

    Fixed now.

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