Where Are the Women? Terminator Genisys

Where Are the Women? Terminator Genisys

Sarah Connor is a character for whom motherhood is about her and her personal journey, rather than rendering her a supporting character in her child’s life.


Is there a female character with significant screen time who grows, changes, and/or learns something over the course of the story? (for an ensemble cast, or 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 woman whose role could easily have been played by a man? [why this matters]


[no issues]


Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional or biological relationship with a child or children? [why this matters]
Does a man police or attempt to police a woman’s sexual agency? [why this matters]
Is he rebuked for it, either directly (by a character onscreen) or indirectly (by how it is depicted)? [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)

Yes, Sarah Connor is primarily defined as the mother of John Connor [why this is a problem], but she is almost the poster girl for demonstrating that this does not have be a reductive role for a woman to play in a story. She is the exception that proves the rule.


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

IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? Yes, one of two credited (Laeta Kalogridis) (does not impact scoring)

BOTTOM LINE: Sarah Connor is now a character of mythic status, one who combines motherhood with strength and determination and a fierce love, all of which drives her as a character and makes her motherhood about her and her personal journey, rather than rendering her merely a supporting character in her child’s life. And all that remains true here. Alas that she is almost the only woman in the film (a female cop who appears briefly in a few scenes is the only other).

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

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

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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