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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Inherent Vice

WATWinherentvice

Women? If they’re not hookers or heartbreakers, they’re just standing around being decorative.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: 0

[no significant representation of girls/women]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +1

+1
Is there a female character with insignificant screen time in a position of authority? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: -35

-10
Is there a female character with significant screen time who appears fully nude? [why this matters]


-5
Is a woman or women used as decorative objects/set dressing? [why this matters]
-20
Is this a major recurring visual motif? [why this matters]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -25

-5
Is femininity used as a joke (ie, a man crossdressing for humorous intent) in passing? [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]


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


-10
Is there a hooker with a heart of gold? [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: -59

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: Women? If they’re not hookers or heartbreakers, they’re just standing around being decorative. Even the one potentially positive female character — an assistant district attorney at a time (the early 1970s) when that would have been unusual — features her as primarily a sexual partner to the male protagonist; the only use of her authority we see is when she abuses it to help him.


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 Inherent Vice! 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.) I have no immediate plans to review the film.

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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