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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Spectre

Where Are the Women? Spectre

With the departure of Judi Dench’s M, there is no longer even a single woman in a position of authority in the current Bond series.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: 0

[no significant representation of girls/women]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: -20

-5
Is there a woman who is kidnapped (either onscreen or off) whose kidnap motivates a male protagonist? [why this matters]
-5
Is there a woman who dies (either onscreen or off) whose death motivates a male protagonist? [why this matters]
-10
Is there more than one woman who is kidnapped and/or raped and/or killed in order to motivate a male protagonist? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: -5

-5
Is a woman or women used as decorative objects/set dressing? [why this matters]

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -5

-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]


-3
Is a dead mother mentioned? [why this matters]
+3
Is a dead father also mentioned? [why this matters]

WILDCARD SCORE: -3

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

Tentacle-porn imagery in the opening credits sequence? Yuck.

TOTAL SCORE: -33

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: With the departure of Judi Dench as M, there is no longer even a single woman in a position of authority in the current Bond series… though she continues to motivate Bond from beyond the grave, which is the opposite of positive representation of women. (Léa Seydoux’s character here is a doctor, but she doesn’t serve as any sort of authority in this story; her work is utterly irrelevant to her character and to the plot, in which she is nothing more than a damsel in distress and in constant need of rescue by the male protagonist.) Even Moneypenny, who was a field agent who held her own next to Bond in the previous film, has been reduced to little more than a secretary here. The current Bond series had been slightly better in its depiction of women than the older films, but it takes a big step backward in that regard with this installment.


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

Click here for the ranking of 2015’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

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

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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where are the women

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