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maryann johanson | takeaway only

Where Are the Women? Pixels

Where Are the Women? Pixels

There are movies that treat women as if they’re trophies for men. And then there’s this movie, in which a woman is an actual trophy awarded to a man.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: -20

-10
Could the protagonist have been female without significantly impacting the film as a whole? (for a film with a male protagonist) [why this matters]


-10
Is there a woman who is mostly pretty awesome and perfect who is present to support a man improving himself? [why this matters]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +5

+5
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]

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: -15

-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 there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional or biological relationship with a child or children*? (*in this case, an adult child) [why this matters]

WILDCARD SCORE: -10

Is there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)

-5
The female character in a position of authority mentioned elsewhere? She is present solely to be awesome perfect support for the male protagonist, and so that she can be won over by him despite the fact that he is an unsocialized boor.
-5
A woman who is barely a character — she is a mute personification of a videogame character — is awarded to a man at the end of the film as a literal trophy for his success.

TOTAL SCORE: -65

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: There are movies that treat women as if they’re trophies for men who triumph. And then there’s this movie, in which a woman is awarded to a man as an actual trophy. (She’s not able to speak, so she can’t say anything in protest.) And that’s on top of all its other offenses against women.


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

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

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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