Where Are the Women? a feminist protest in film criticism [funded!]


Mon Nov 17 2014: Where are the women in movies? They’re standing aside, even when they’re awesome, so that they can support men being even more awesome and saving the world, etc.

If women even get space in a movie at all, that is.

As a lifelong lover of movies and a film critic with 17+ years experience, I’m pretty damn tired of this.

We hear a lot of general chatter about how poorly girls and women are represented on the big screen. Now it’s time to quantify it.

Each week — pending successful funding of my new Kickstarter — from January through March 2015, I’ll rank and rate three major releases (Hollywood films, significant indies, films we’re all talking about) for their representation of girls and women. Kind of like the Bechdel Test, but bigger and more nuanced.

You can see my proposed criteria and scores here; please feel free to comment on them and suggest others. And check out sample ratings and scores for Interstellar, Nightcrawler, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, and The Maze Runner.

At the same time, I’ll also compile a list of the year’s new cinema releases ranked by the score they achieve on my test, from best representation of girls/women to worst.

I have stretch goals in mind, including grading more films each week and extending the project period to as long as the whole of 2015. So please support this project if it’s important to you that we see more girls and women represented realistically onscreen, as people with hopes and dreams, aspirations and adventures of their own, and not merely as adjuncts to boys and men.

Please make a pledge at Kickstarter! Thanks for your support. I welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions!

Please also see:
“How Movies Fail Girls and Women (Fans and Filmmakers Alike)”
“More Movies with Girl and Woman Heroes Will Be Good for Boys, Too”
“Film Critic Launches Project to Highlight Lack of Women On Screen” [at movieScope]

Fri Dec 12 2014: This is now the featured Journalism project at Kickstarter.


Thanks to all my wonderful backers so far — you helped me get here!

Sun Dec 14 2014: An incredibly generous pledge from reader amanohyo has gotten us over the top, and we are now into stretch-goal territory. Can we reach these?

$7,500: If pledges reach this amount, I’ll rate and rank five films each week (up from three films).

$10,000: If pledges reach this amount, I’ll rate and rank five films each week for six months (up from three films per week for three months).

And if pledges start to get really crazy in these last few days, I’ve got more stretch goals in mind.

Thu Dec 18 2014: Incredible! Thank you thank you THANK YOU to all my wonderful backers: the project has been funded at more than 200 percent… which means I’ll be doing twice as much rating and ranking as I’d initially hoped to do.

Rating and ranking of films will begin in early January. Stay tuned…

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Mon, Nov 17, 2014 11:43pm

Have you considered using Patreon for ongoing funding instead of Kickstarter?

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  FSugino
Tue, Nov 18, 2014 10:47am

For a different sort of project, perhaps. (I have something in mind for next year.) Not for this one.

Mark Forrester
Mark Forrester
Tue, Nov 18, 2014 12:12am


MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Mark Forrester
Tue, Nov 18, 2014 10:47am

Meaning what?

Tue, Nov 18, 2014 12:25am

Lara Croft? Steel Magnolias? Erin Brockovich? Hunger Games? The Colour Purple? Fried Green Tomatoes? Brave? The Hours? Waiting to Exhale? I mean, there are hundreds of movies with strong female leads and characters. What is your complaint exactly? That every movie isn’t written with a strong female lead or character? I think you’re seeing a problem where one quite literally doesn’t exist. Now, if you want to talk about films where there is a strong gay, lesbian or transgendered character or lead that isn’t humiliated or demeaned, you might have a point. But otherwise, you can’t be a very good movie critic if you can’t think of that many movies with strong female leads or characters.

reply to  richardolsen
Tue, Nov 18, 2014 12:39am

If audiences or studios were to blame for this “sexism” why did they produce and attend multiple Underworld & Resident Evil sequels?

reply to  richardolsen
Tue, Nov 18, 2014 5:39am

And a few of those films are even from this decade.

Here are some numbers:

Female characters remained dramatically under-represented as protagonists, major characters, and speaking (major and minor) characters in the top grossing films of 2013.

Females comprised 15% of protagonists, 29% of major characters, and 30% of all speaking characters.

Only 13% of the top 100 films featured equal numbers of major female and male characters, or more major female characters than male characters.


MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  richardolsen
Tue, Nov 18, 2014 10:48am

You had to go back to the 80s? I can name that many films with male protagonists released *this week.*

Tue, Nov 18, 2014 12:38am

Please stop making up bullshit about film, there are loads of female protagonists, Underworld 1 2 3 4, Resident Evil 1 2 3 4 5, Aeon Flux, Catwoman, Lara Croft 1 2, Salt, Hunger Games 1 2 3 4, Divergent, Aliens 1 2 3, etc

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Trybrow
Tue, Nov 18, 2014 10:49am

Please go away if all you’re going to do is spout ignorance.

Tue, Nov 18, 2014 1:02am

Completely wrong. It’s like some women want to complain just to complain. There are any number of films with women leads.

Tue, Nov 18, 2014 2:54am

Good idea! Don’t listen to the trolls making the same arguments you’ve heard a million times (The Colour Purple? seriously, you’re going back that far to make your argument?).

Tue, Nov 18, 2014 10:12am

“But what about Ripley” has become “But what about Ripley, Elsa, and the chick from Gravity“. I think there’s still a little way to go.

MaryAnn Johanson
Tue, Nov 18, 2014 10:55am

Comments questioning the lack of female representation on film will NOT be tolerated here. It is not open for debate. It is settled business.

Any further comments on the matter will be deleted. Any abusive commenters will be banned.

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Tue, Nov 18, 2014 1:14pm

Not that it will help, but I’m going to point out, pre-emptively, that the topic has already been discussed over and over on this site–on several different threads, many times, just in the past year. I’m pretty sure that someone is going to say: MaryAnn is afraid of an open discussion, because she knows she’s wrong, and she wants to cut off freedom of speech. There’s already been lots of open discussion on the topic. Open discussion is great. But once in a while, it would be nice to have an open discussion about something else.

MaryAnn Johanson
Tue, Nov 18, 2014 11:41am

I really do wonder what is so threatening to so many men about increasing the representation of girls and women onscreen. Do they worry (perhaps subconsciously) that somehow — not that it will ever happen — that they will suddenly find themselves in the position girls and women are now: so overwhelmed by the opposite gender onscreen and not seeing people who look like them most of the time?

This project isn’t even about *increasing* anything onscreen, only talking about it! If they’re correct (which they aren’t) and women are doing just fine onscreen, this project would reflect that.

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Tue, Nov 18, 2014 11:51am

Or they just know that they don’t want things to change. They’re used to films being made a particular way.
(The huge changes in filmmaking, effects, visual grammars, etc., over the last say thirty years are of course irrelevant here.)

Nathan C.
Nathan C.
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Nov 24, 2014 7:06am

I think it stems from misinformation, fear mongering, and ignorance. Some men feel like they are being put into one category, not being looked at as an individual, and feel like they are being discriminated against by the media (which is rather ironic). Confirmation bias is also likely a factor. Fear makes morons of everyone, particularly when such fear is unfounded.

Personally, I’m tired of the male protagonist. I already know how I think, I want to see things from a different perspective. That’s the definition of good fiction, to be shown “landscapes” that are somewhat or completely inaccessible in real life. I am a Tourist, I can’t vacation in my own backyard no matter how nice it is this time of year. I’m losing faith in my travel agent.

Wed, Nov 19, 2014 3:08am

The results of this will be most effective after a few months, when you can take the average of all the movies you rate (ideally you would rate every movie you review, to avoid accusations of cherry-picking, but I’m not sure how long this would take).

Wed, Nov 19, 2014 9:25am

How is this project going to differ from the other articles and sites dealing with female representation in movies? For example, http://bechdeltest.com/ already ranks movies on how well they pass this.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  David
Wed, Nov 19, 2014 10:13am

As mentioned in my post, my ratings are much more nuanced than the Bechdel test. Please take a look at the proposed criteria and the four movies rated as samples.

Wed, Nov 19, 2014 8:44pm

And this is the interesting thing about content: the con arguments stem from anecdotal evidence, while MAJ is looking to build statistical evidence. The fact that the objective evidence is lacking (or not widely published) in the face of subjective arguments is case-and-point for the necessity of the project. Love the idea.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  AA
Wed, Nov 19, 2014 10:47pm

There have been presentations of statistical evidence, as linked above. What there hasn’t been, as far as I’m aware, is a systematic film-by-film analysis that shows how specific problems recur across film as a medium.

Numbers are important, but we all tend to glaze over them. But pointing to one movie and pointing out that *this* and *that* and *this other thing* are problematic might be more dramatic, and hence more memorable.

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Nov 20, 2014 2:17am

If you are able to go ahead and get a reasonably large collection of films scored by these criteria, I intend to do some analysis on the figures – looking for correlations both of scores and of individual answers with genre, production company, etc.

Dominic Barlow
Dominic Barlow
Sat, Nov 22, 2014 11:42am

I have no qualms with protesting the lack of decent female representation on film, but why do you need $5000 to do it?

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Dominic Barlow
Sat, Nov 22, 2014 6:33pm

You think that’s an unreasonable amount to pay for three months’ worth of work by someone with my expertise and experience? You think that’s too much?

Guess what: You don’t have to pay a damn penny for anything. If the Kickstarter succeeds, you can get it all for free.

Dominic Barlow
Dominic Barlow
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sat, Nov 22, 2014 11:38pm

I think that you’re too vague on how the money would be used for me to properly consider whether it’s too much or too little. I can infer now that it’s for the “extra administrative work required” in making that posts, because I found that in the Q&A for your previous Kickstarter. I’d recommend you adapt that for your current one, to reduce the ambiguity that inspired my question.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Dominic Barlow
Sun, Nov 23, 2014 12:13pm

The money will pay me a small salary for a short time. I’m sorry if that wasn’t at all clear. It’s pretty obvious that there are no additional production costs involved with this project (I don’t have to set up another web site, for instance), so where else would the money be going?

I will add something to the KS, but c’mon: even if you’re “vague” on how the money will be used and were wondering if all of it would go to pay me, are you hesitating because you think that’s too much money? This isn’t a job that just anyone could do, and it’s not something that those who *could* do are already doing! So please answer my question: Do you think this is an unreasonable amount? Do you think I should do yet more work for free?

Dominic Barlow
Dominic Barlow
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sun, Nov 23, 2014 3:02pm

I’m not actually hung up on the specific amount. When I talked about considering what too much or too little would be, that was a hypothetical scenario I might reach if I had the answer I was looking for. I presented that scenario to try and address the inferring questions you asked in response, and I did all of that in a hypocritically vague and misdirecting way that is irritating even to me now. Sorry about that.

But yeah, I was basically seeking clarification that it was another potential source of revenue. You’ve given it, so fair enough. I think you can seek that however you please, at whatever amount.

Fri, Dec 12, 2014 5:16pm

By the way, you know that banning the word “feminist” came up in the Time’s Ban That Word poll, right? http://time.com/3576870/worst-words-poll-2014/

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  LaSargenta
Fri, Dec 12, 2014 11:16pm

I wish I could say I was surprised.

Fri, Dec 12, 2014 11:11pm
Sat, Dec 13, 2014 9:57pm

Hey, sorry I’m kind of late with this. I didn’t have a chance to sit down and give it the attention it deserved until this afternoon. The following are of course only suggestions, feel free to ignore and/or adapt them as needed.

First of all, I’ve divided the criteria into four sections: basic representation, objectification/male gaze, agency/independence/power, and tropes/sexuality/race. Many straddle the lines, but I feel as though the list is a tad overwhelming and difficult to digest as it is. If you scored these four separately before combining them, it might help filmmakers/readers understand what particular areas they need to focus on and improve.

I’ve also suggested some minor tweaks to the scores to make them more regular, and grouped them into positives and negatives in descending order of importance which makes them easier to compare. This grouping will also combat accusations that your scoring system is completely arbitrary and will improve readability by organizing them visually into “big, medium, and small” issues.

More specific suggestions are written below. I apologize in advance if the formatting gets screwed up, I cut and pasted this from an ancient program on an even more ancient computer.


+25 Is there a female protagonist?

+10 Is there a significant, fully
developed female character?

+10 Is there a female villain or

+2 Is there a woman whose role could
have easily been played by a man? (increase to +5)

+2 Are there multiple women whose roles
could have easily been played by men? (increase to +5)

-20 Is there a female villain whose
villainy is defined by her gender?

-10 Could the protagonist have easily
been female?

-10 Does the film needlessly take place
in an all-male environment?

-5 Is there a lone female character in
an otherwise all-male ensemble?


+8 Does a man appear fully nude?

+2 Do multiple men appear fully nude?

To be symmetrical and “fair”,
consider expanding the above two into four and increasing the points as shown below:

+10 Does a significant male character
appear fully nude?

+10 Do multiple significant male
characters appear fully nude?

+10 Does a man with insignificant
screen time (shorten to minor character?) appear fully nude?

+10 Do multiple men with insignificant
screen time appear fully nude?

-10 Does a significant female character
appear fully nude?

-10 Do multiple significant female
characters appear fully nude?

-10 Does a woman with insignificant
screen time appear fully nude?

-10 Do multiple women with
insignificant screen time appear fully nude?

-10 Are women consistently more nude or
exposed than men? (This covers the four -1’s below)

-10 Is there a gratuitous strip club
scene? (does this include male strip clubs?)

-5 Is there a significant female
character who dresses less appropriately than male characters?

-5 Are there multiple significant
female characters who dress less appropriately than male characters?

-5 Does a significant female character
bare her breasts?

-5 Are there multiple significant
female characters who bare their breasts?

-5 Is a woman introduced ass first?

-5 Is a woman introduced in a feet to
head shot? (NEW)

-5 Is at least one woman used as set
dressing? (redundant due to “consistently more exposed”

-5 Is there a shot of breasts bouncing
in slow motion?

-5 Is there a shot of bare breasts
bouncing in slow motion? (redundant because of previous)

(The four below are redundant due to
the “consistently more nude/exposed” criteria above)

-1 Is there a female character with
insignificant screen time that is dressed inappropriately?

-1 Are there multiple women with
insignificant screen time dressed inappropriately?

-1 Does a female character with
insignificant screen time bare her breasts?

-1 Are there multiple women with
insignificant screen time that bare their breasts?


+5 Is there a significant female
character is a position of authority? (increase to +10)

+5 Are there multiple significant
female characters in positions of authority? (increase to +10)

+1 Is there a female character with
insignificant screen time in a position of authority? (increase to

+1 Are there multiple minor female
characters in positions of authority? (increase to +5)

-20 Is femininity used as a joke in a
way essential to the movie?

-15 Is there a woman who is kidnapped,
raped, and murdered whose fate motivates a male protagonist?

-10 Is there a woman who is kidnapped
and raped whose fate motivates a male protagonist?

-10 Is there a woman who is kidnapped
and murdered whose fate motivates a male protagonist?

-10 Is there a woman who is raped and
murdered whose fate motivates a male protagonist?

Do the four criteria above stack on top
of each other? In other words, if a woman is kidnapped, raped and
murdered to motivate the male hero, does the film get -15, PLUS the
three -10’s, PLUS the three -5’s below? -60 in total seems extreme.
I would be in favor of eliminating the above four and decreasing the
individual rape, kidnap, and murder points as shown below in that
case Otherwise, if the points don’t stack, the four above are
redundant because of the three individual penalties.

-10 Is a female character sexually
manipulated or abused to advance a male protagonist’s story?

-10 Does a man police or attempt to
police a woman’s sexual agency? (is it shown in a negative light? If so, it could be positive)

-10 Is a woman paired with a man old
enough to be her grandfather?

-5 Is there a woman whose murder
motivates a male protagonist? (lower to -15)

-5 Is there a woman whose kidnapping
motivates a male protagonist? (lower to -10)

-5 Is there a woman whose rape
motivates a male protagonist? (lower to -10)

-5 Is a woman paired with a man old
enough to be her father?

-5 Is femininity used as a joke in

-5 Is there a female character whose
primary goal is romantic?

-5 Is there a female character whose
primary goal is to become a mother? (is this always negative?)

-5 Is a female character primarily
defined by her emotional and/or sexual relationships to men?


+6 Is there a female character who is
romantically attracted to another woman? (increase to +10)

+3 Is a dead father mentioned along
with a dead mother? (I’m not sure how this is positive)

+2 Is there a nonwhite female
protagonist? (increase to +5)

+2 Is there a nonwhite, significant,
fully developed female character? (increase to +5)

+2 Is there a nonwhite, significant
female character in a position of authority? (increase to +5)

-10 Is one of the female characters a
straw feminist? (NEW)

-10 Is there an awesome, perfect female
character who is present to support a man’s self-improvement?

-10 Is there a manic pixie dream girl?

-10 Is there a hooker with a heart of

-3 Is a dead mother mentioned? (lower
to -5)

To avoid answering the same questions
over and over, you should consider including a link to a page that
specifically defines/explains the following:

significant character

minor character (or whatever other term
you’d like to use to avoid typing “character with insignificant
screen time” over and over)

fully developed

femininity used as a joke

villainy that is defined by gender

old enough to be her grandfather
(seriously, people are going to dispute this one)

old enough to be her father

why an otherwise successful woman whose
primary goal is to have children is a bad thing

Thanks for taking on this project! If you ever need a volunteer to
score some older movies now and then, I’d be happy to help. I’m sure
many of your other regular readers would be too.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  amanohyo
Sat, Dec 13, 2014 10:56pm

I will need to give all this some serious thought.

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sat, Dec 13, 2014 10:58pm

i would say only that there are really truly some women who like much older men and that should at least be shown as their choice

reply to  bronxbee
Sun, Dec 14, 2014 12:21am

bronxbee is right, and of course that objection will be raised in the case of “man old enough to be her father” too.

Also, I anticipate that people will raise questions about the specific rules used to determine if the characters merit the penalty.

Is it the age of the actor or the age of the character?

(for example, how would you score a movie that has a 65 year old actor playing a 40 year old man who dates a 25 year old female character played by a 20 year old actress?)

What specific age difference qualifies?

What if the characters’ ages aren’t specifically stated in the script, will you estimate them? How?

Many otherwise reasonable people become incredibly anal when it comes to scoring and grades. Some of them will be trying to deflect attention away from the main issue by nitpicking, so it might be useful to have a fairly detailed system/rationale in place beforehand to counter the inevitable criticism that your scoring system is too arbitrary. Not a pressing issue, just something to keep in mind.

I do feel strongly that the items need to be grouped in some logical fashion before you consolidate and present the score(s)/grade(s). Realistically, people aren’t going to take the time to hunt through each item after they read the overall score, especially if they are all massed in one enormous haphazard list.

However, I think many people would take the time to scan four or five additional scores/grades below the overall score. For example, they might see that a movie scored a C (or whatever scoring system you use) overall, but got an A in basic representation, a D in objectification, a D in agency, and a B in… Tropes/Race/Sexuality. hmm, I really don’t like that last category.

Maybe there’s a way to roll the tropes into the others and then leave Race/Sexuality by themselves? The tropes could loosely fall into the agency category I guess. That might make more sense.

Oh, and of course my category names are just placeholders – if I was clever, I would try to come up with more elegant names.

reply to  amanohyo
Sun, Dec 14, 2014 9:40am

Practically anything can be defended with “sometimes it happens in the real world, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing when it does”.
Some men are heroic. Some women do get rescued. Some relationships between older men and younger women work very well.
But when a majority of film presents as normal particular viewpoints which are fairly distinct from ones that we might consider normal or desirable, it’s still worth calling it out. That I think is the point of this project.
(This is probably related to the “one bitchy woman” problem: if there’s only one female character in your film, and she’s bitchy, you seem to be saying things about women in general. If you have several female characters and one of them is bitchy, that’s just that individual.)

Tonio Kruger
reply to  RogerBW
Sun, Dec 14, 2014 10:51pm


Also it should be noted that it is not unusual to bring up instances where society’s idea of a normal relationship differs from Hollywood’s.

Cultural conservatives like Ben Shapiro and Michael Medved kvetch about such differences all the time without being criticized for it. And even liberal bloggers like the Self-Styled Siren have commenters of a similar stripe who have noted how often it was –and how unusual it should have been — for certain female stars like Audrey Hepburn to be romantically paired with actors who are far older than they are. (And that was back in the 1950s, when a marriage between people of differing ages was considered to be more unusual.)

If other people can do that, why can’t MaryAnn?

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  amanohyo
Sun, Dec 14, 2014 6:43pm

I still need time to deal with your suggestions, so I’ll just respond to your age-gap question now. In most cases, it will be a matter of using the actors’ ages. Regardless of whether someone can play older or younger, the question comes down to who is getting cast in which roles.

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Dec 15, 2014 11:27am

That’s a good plan. If you keep the rules as objective and straightforward as possible, the results will be difficult to nitpick apart.

If you’re planning to go beneath the surface narrative for some of your data (actors’ ages), would you also consider listing the writer(s) and/or director(s) names beneath the title on the scoring page?

It wouldn’t make sense to actually award points for female writers and directors – as we all know, it’s not as though men can’t write or direct a story with a female lead. Of course, you already include this info in the body of your reviews, but seeing the names on the WAtW scoring page would be a nice subtle reminder of the gender imbalance when it comes to the people actually telling the stories.

I’m also making the request for selfish reasons, as I tend to follow writers and directors rather than actors or particular genres. The socialist in me would love to see the producers’ names listed too, but that list would be too lengthy in many cases.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  amanohyo
Tue, Dec 16, 2014 10:43am

Listing director and writer(s) is a good idea.

No matter what I do, some people are going to nitpick. And some of this *is* going to be subjective. There’s no way around it. But it will be less subjective than all the guys — almost all guys (but a few women, too) — coming out of the woodwork to state that because they don’t feel like there’s a problem, there isn’t a problem.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  bronxbee
Sun, Dec 14, 2014 6:41pm

I cannot recall a single film in which a man is romantically paired with a woman young enough to be his daughter or granddaughter and any justification is offered for the age gap. Sure, some women like older men… just as some men like older women. And yet we hardly ever see older women and younger men paired romantically.

In all these instances, we can presume that the much younger woman is with the man willingly. But that’s not the issue. If a film magically comes along that explicitly deals with the age gap, then that can be covered in the wildcard section.

Until the day that *Harold and Maude* is no longer an outlier, this will remain a problem.

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sun, Dec 14, 2014 9:41pm

you seem to feel that women have to justify their romantic choices then?

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  bronxbee
Mon, Dec 15, 2014 12:44am

Not at all. This isn’t a matter of women’s romantic choices but of Hollywood’s casting choices. It wouldn’t be of concern at all if it weren’t so prevalent. But just as with so many other things when it comes to women’s lives, if you were to make guesses about women from movies, you’d think a LOT of women are choosing to date men decades older than them. Which they aren’t.

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Dec 15, 2014 11:42am

Thank you for the replies. I understand the choice now – it’s meant to point out a pattern that differs greatly from reality. MA’s decision to use the actors’ ages is perfect – that will shut down most rebuttals.

It might also be helpful to include on the glossary/FAQ page a brief statistic along the lines of, “the average age difference between couples in developing countries is two to three years.”

It would be interesting to compare that with the average age difference between actors who play couples in mainstream movies. Perhaps this has been done already, but I am unaware of any studies. This would be a great opportunity to gather some hard data.

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Dec 15, 2014 5:51pm

ah, i see. yes, good point.

reply to  amanohyo
Sat, Dec 13, 2014 11:13pm

Just as I feared, the formatting is kind of janky. I wanted to add that if there aren’t any parentheses after the item, I didn’t change anything other than some occasional paraphrasing.

Also, by “descending order of importance,” I simply meant that I put higher point items at the top of their respective sections. I did not mean to imply that I consider each item to be more important than those below it.

I’m honestly not sure how the four sections should be weighted, and I also feel a bit uneasy about lumping tropes/sexuality/race together as if they are afterthoughts. At the end of the day, the specific point values are not really crucial when it comes to the overall goal of quantifying the representation of women.

That said, taking my suggestions into account, the totals for each section are:





Looking at these, it seems as though the positive and negative totals for basic representation and the positive total for agency/independence/power should be increased to reflect their relative importance. I introduced this problem by adding the four +10’s for nude male characters.

There are three ways of addressing this imbalance: increasing the point values for certain items, including more criteria, or eliminating the +10’s for nude men. In the interest of simplicity and perceived fairness (let’s be realistic, not many movies are going to get those nude men +10’s for a while), I would be in favor of increasing the point values. For example, it would make sense to increase “Is there a female protagonist?” to +30, and increase “Is there a significant, fully developed female character” to +20.

A completely different approach would be to score all four areas individually, and then average the four “grades” to get a total score. This would be more work for MA, but would be easier to read as it could be presented in “report card” fashion similar to the scores of a typical video game review.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  amanohyo
Mon, Jan 12, 2015 12:19am

I’ve incorporated some of your suggestions — most notably dividing the criteria into categories — in the final rating template:


Thank you *very much* for your input. It has been enormously helpful.

Proustable M.
Proustable M.
Sun, Dec 14, 2014 2:28am

People, seriously, support this project. This is a fantastic idea and absolutely necessary.

Sun, Dec 14, 2014 4:06pm

111%. Woo! Also hoo!

reply to  Bluejay
Sun, Dec 14, 2014 4:17pm


The spellchecker really hates “yub nub,” by the way.

reply to  Danielm80
Sun, Dec 14, 2014 5:37pm

And of course, that’s a movie (and series) that could have used more women. :-)

reply to  Danielm80
Sun, Dec 14, 2014 5:47pm

Hurrah and congratulations!

Mon, Dec 15, 2014 11:45am

Yea for amanohyo! And everyone else, too, but that’s great that someone’s able to put a big chunk in to supporting this project.

reply to  LaSargenta
Mon, Dec 15, 2014 11:58am

My albino cheetah had his heart set on that second diamond studded collar… maybe next year, White Lightning, *sniff* maybe next year :*(

Wed, Dec 17, 2014 6:52pm

OVER 200% FUNDED?? To continue with the Star Wars theme I’ve been on:


Out of curiosity, do you have data on how people are finding your Kickstarter, and which sites they’re coming from? Or is it all amanohyo forgoing more treats for his albino cheetah? :-)

After seeing you struggle many times to convince people to pay for your work, I think this is really fantastic. Congratulations.

reply to  Bluejay
Wed, Dec 17, 2014 8:03pm

Well, I know I kicked in a not-infinitesimal amount early on, but I’m nowhere in amanohyo’s league. I just have a shelter kitty who hates collars, nothing exotic here.

reply to  LaSargenta
Wed, Dec 17, 2014 11:07pm

Damn straight, you’re not in my league! Not only is White Lightning not getting a second collar, I might also have to cancel his personal masseuse for a whole week! You think a couple imported gazelle babies will fix a betrayal of that magnitude? Not even close.

Sure, I may look comfortable lounging on this couch carved from a single perfect ruby, wearing nothing but a robe made of distressed blue whale foreskin, but I assure you… the knowledge that I am going to ruin the Christmas of that noble creature is tearing me apart.

Seriously though, no worries… it’s not a competition. When I first started reading this site, I was broke and unemployed, crashing on a friend’s futon every night, drowning my days in video games, four dollar matinees, and cheap chinese takeout. It’s a privilege to finally be in a position to give a little back after all these years.

This particular project also happens to be the confluence of virtually everything I care passionately about. I just hope MA isn’t stretched too thin with the added workload. There are only so many hours in a week.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Bluejay
Thu, Dec 18, 2014 12:26am

I can only see who pledged and how much. I can’t tell where they’re coming from. That would be useful information. I can *ask* them, though, so I may do that.

Wed, Dec 17, 2014 7:02pm

Booga, booga, booga, booga!!!



Mon, Dec 22, 2014 7:05pm

This Tweet seems relevant:


She also wrote to a video game company about the way they represent women: