Where Are the Women? The Voices


Where are the women in this movie? Dead and in pieces… and that’s meant to be kooky and charming.


[no significant representation of girls/women]


Is there a female character (either a protagonist or a supporting character with significant screen time) in a position of authority (politics, law, medicine, etc.)? [why this matters]
Is there a female villain or antagonist? [why this matters]
Is her villainy/badness defined primarily by her gender (ie, is it related to motherhood, or is it of a sexual nature)? [why this matters]
Is there a woman who is kidnapped (either onscreen or off) whose kidnap motivates a male protagonist? [why this matters]
Is there a woman who dies (either onscreen or off) whose death motivates a male protagonist? [why this matters]
Is there more than one woman who is kidnapped and/or raped and/or murdered in order to motivate a male protagonist? [why this matters]


Is a woman or women used as decorative objects/set dressing? [why this matters]
Are one or more either a protagonist or significant supporting character? [why this matters]
Is this a major recurring visual motif? [why this matters]


Is a dead mother mentioned? [why this matters]
Does a man police or attempt to police a woman’s sexual agency? [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)

Not only are multiple women killed here by the protagonist, they are depicted as delighted to have been brutally murdered, and we are invited to feel sorry not for them but for their killer.


IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? Yes (Marjane Satrapi) (does not impact scoring)

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

BOTTOM LINE: Innovations in how women are represented onscreen are desperately needed, but not like the ones here. Typically, when women are kidnapped and murdered to motivate a male protagonist, it’s the villain who does so, not the (supposedly sympathetic) protagonist himself, motivating himself via the (literally) schizophrenic voices in his head. When women are used as decorative objects, that usually means “prancing around in skimpy bikinis,” not “their pretty severed heads sitting on the coffeetable.” Where are the women in this movie? Dead and in pieces… and that’s meant to be kooky and charming.

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

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

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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