Where Are the Women? Minions

Where Are the Women? Minions

Maleness: the default for characters worth telling stories about as far as Hollywood is concerned, even if they are little yellow blobs.


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


[no issues]


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

That all the Minions are coded “male” — to the point of every single named Minion sporting a male name — is problematic on its own, but when the opening sequence of the film is an extended joke about the Minions’ evolution, the complete absence of female Minions really stands out as a bizarre omission.


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

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

BOTTOM LINE: They are little yellow blobs. There is absolutely no reason why they must all be male. And yet they are. Because maleness is the default for characters worth telling stories about as far as Hollywood is concerned, even if they are little yellow blobs.

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

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

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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Sun, Jul 12, 2015 9:28pm

Did they even need to have names at all?

(Of course they did. That’s how long-suffering parents know which toy to buy. Hint: all of them.)

Fri, Feb 19, 2021 6:29pm

It’s even worse when you find out that the reason there are no female Minions is because, according to the creator, Minions are so dumb and stupid that he just couldn’t picture any of them as girls. Just…aside from the obvious implication that “men are stupid dolts” it also implies that women can’t ever be goofy, silly, and funny. We must always be mature and perfect and poised and polished and rational and graceful. We’re never allowed to just kick back, be awkward, be funny, laugh out loud, not have our lives together, mature, or be human. After all, we’re already perfect! What more do we need to do besides help develop men as they progress as people? Am I right, ladies?

Not to worry, though. I’m sure we’ll get a female Minion eventually–she’ll be hourglass shaped and have human-shaped red lips and a beauty mark, maybe some glittery eyeshadow and eyelashes so we know for certain she’s a female. Oops! Silly me! I nearly forgot the gigantic pink polka-dotted Minnie Mouse bow and matching dress(’cause of course she won’t wear overalls or goggles like the boys do; she’s not geeky like them. What she is, though, is pretty. Very, very pretty.). Maybe add a pair of rockin’ high heels, opera gloves, and jewelry, and we’ve got ourselves a female Minion, complete with all the distinguishable signifiers of femininity to separate her from those generic defaulty males. Oops, we forgot to name her! Should she be Claudia? Grace? Chelsea? Hmmm. How about…Minionette? There, that should do the trick. As for her personality(aside from being female and possibly the object of desire for every other Minion, that is), she’ll be head-and-shoulders above the rest in almost every way, and usually a source of wisdom who is never victim to slapstick or humor of any kind. She’s so perfect, pretty, and clean, she’ll be untouchable. What a showstopping win for female representation! That oughta shut up the nitpicking feminazis in the audience.