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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? It Follows

WATWitfollows

The female protagonist, in the course of being punished for having sex, is haunted by a spectre who sometimes appears as a naked or half-naked woman…

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: +25

+25
Is there a female protagonist? [why this matters]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: 0

[no significant representation of women in authority]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: -25

-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: -5

-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]

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: -5

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: Yes, the protagonist is female… but her story is all about her being punished for having sex, via a haunting by a spectre who appears in various human guises, several of them women in varying degrees of nakedness for no reason but horrifying titillation. (One naked man is glimpsed so far in the distance and so briefly that he might as well not be naked, and appears to have been shoehorned in only to, perhaps, deflect criticism of the gratuitous recurring female nudity in this film.)


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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of It Follows! 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 It Follows.

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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