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maryann johanson, ruining movies since 1997

Where Are the Women? X-Men: Days of Future Past

WATWxmendaysfuture

Jennifer Lawrence’s complex antagonist and lots of female mutants make for a respectable showing, particularly for the genre.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: 0

[no significant representation of girls/women]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +14

+10
Is there a female villain or antagonist? [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: 0

-10
Does a man police or attempt to police a woman’s sexual agency? [why this matters]
+10
Is he rebuked for it, either directly (by a character onscreen) or indirectly (by how it is depicted)? [why this matters]

WILDCARD SCORE: -2

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

In the full rating criteria, I have an accommodation for a film in which a women appears fully nude… but so does a man. It allows for the latter to almost entirely balance out the former (read the explanation for why it doesn’t completely balance it out). I think that pointage works for this film, too, because even though Jennifer Lawrence is basically nude in her base Mystique form — the actress is covered by body paint and not much else — she is technically not nude; she is not shot in a gratuitous or salacious way, either. Plus, Hugh Jackman appears actually nude, though only from behind. It seems to me that director Bryan Singer is making an attempt to be equitable with his film’s nudity (even though we’re a long way from male nudity being on a par with female nudity onscreen).

TOTAL SCORE: +12

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

IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? Yes, one of three credited (Jane Goldman) (does not impact scoring)

BOTTOM LINE: Jennifer Lawrence’s spectacular and complex antagonist and lots of female mutants — including Ellen Page’s, whose powers are absolutely essential to the plot — make for a respectable showing, particularly for a genre not typically friendly to women’s representation.


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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of X-Men: Days of Future Past! 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 X-Men: Days of Future Past.

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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