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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? American Sniper


What is a woman’s job in the movies? As supportive wife and prompter of male betterment, of course. *grrr*


[no significant representation of girls/women]


[no significant representation of women in authority]


[no issues]


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


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



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

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

BOTTOM LINE: A few female soldiers — who appear only very briefly in the background and have no dialogue — cannot outweigh Sienna Miller’s ridiculously supportive wife, whose sole purpose in the story is to make Bradley Cooper a better man.

Click here for the ranking of 2014’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

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

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

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
  • Danielm80

    MaryAnn, I’m guessing it would take too much time and effort, but I’d love it if you could tally up the scores for this year’s Best Picture nominees. I’m curious how well the Oscars represent women. My suspicion, based on the Lead Actress nominations, is that they barely represent women at all.

  • I’ve thought about doing that. I would have to watch some of them again, though. I’ll see how doable it is.

  • RobertP

    In a scenario like this – pretty much. It doesn’t mean she’s a Stepford Wife but assuming she’s not in uniform herself, she’s marrying a certain life, a life that’s going to revolve around his job.

  • I said nothing about her being a Stepford Wife. She’s not. That doesn’t mean a story about soldiers and PTSD must ignore women to the degree that this one does. Women are soldiers, too, and suffer from PTSD, too. Women work as doctors and therapists to help soldiers. Women a ton of stuff in the world that does not involve revolving their lives around one man.

  • RobertP

    Going by the caption I got the impression your complaint is about her character, or is it that there aren’t more women characters in the film?

  • Please read the background matter. It’s linked from the criteria.

    (The problem is both.)

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