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maryann johanson | takeaway only

Where Are the Women? Pan


Women here are nasty nuns, absent mothers, manic pixie princesses, or pretty mermaids, all helping a little boy on his adventures.


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


Is there a female character with insignificant screen time in a position of authority? [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]


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

Similar to the trope of the woman who is kidnapped in order to motivate a male protagonist [why this is a problem] is how the male protagonist here is driven by a desire to find his mother, who is missing from his life through circumstances that result in her being absent from the story as a character and “worth” nothing but how she can prod him along on his journey.
Blackbeard the pirate describes his island of misfit boys as a place where people of “all races, all colors, all creeds” are working together (for his cause, of course)… except there are no girls there at all, and no one even seems to notice this. Are girls icky? Or are girls not people?
There is a scene in which Hook acts like such an insulting, condescending jerk to Tiger Lily that she slaps him… but then when she turns away, she smiles, indicating that she is actually charmed by him. It’s an ugly depiction of the trope of abusive behavior as a sign of a man’s attraction for a woman, one that she will secretly welcome in spite of her protests.


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

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

BOTTOM LINE: Women here — of which there are vanishingly few — are nasty nuns, absent mothers, manic pixie princesses, or pretty mermaids who don’t speak but do rescue little boys so they can continue on their adventures. As long as little boys can continue on their adventures, what else are women for?

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

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

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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