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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? The Gambler

Where Are the Women The Gambler

This is a great example of how movies typically want nothing to do with women unless they’re propping up a man.


Could the protagonist have been female without significantly impacting the film as a whole? (for a film with a male protagonist) [why this matters]

Is there a woman who is mostly pretty awesome and perfect who is present to support a man improving himself? [why this matters]


Is there a female character with insignificant screen time in a position of authority? [why this matters]

Is there a woman whose role could easily have been played by a man? [why this matters]
More than one? [why this matters]


Is there a scene set in a strip club for no good reason? [why this matters]


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 a woman paired romantically with a man old enough to be her father? [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: One way this remake could have stood apart from its source material and found something fresh to say about its subject would have been to swap out its male protagonist for a woman. We can safely assume that this didn’t occur to anyone involved in making the film. Indeed, with an almost entirely male-dominated cast apart from the protagonist’s mother and too-young-for-him girlfriend, this is a great example of how movies typically want nothing to do with women unless they’re propping up a man. The film’s score would have been even worse, because the mother character could have easily been a father (as the female bank manager in one brief scene could have been played by a man), but those are positives only in the veritable woman-desert that movies are.

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

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

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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where are the women

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