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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

Where Are the Women? Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

With the female chipmunk trio the Chipettes sidelined, women here are represented primarily via the (human) girlfriend of the Chipmunks’ human pal Dave.


[no significant representation of girls/women]


Is there a female character with insignificant screen time in a position of authority? [why this matters]
More than one? [why this matters]

Is there a woman whose role could easily have been played by a man? [why this matters]


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


Is femininity used as a joke (ie, a man crossdressing for humorous intent) in passing*? (*in this case, a female babysitter completely ignores her charges in favor of gossiping on the phone) [why this matters]

Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional and/or sexual relationship with a man or men? [why this matters]

Does a man police or attempt to police a woman’s sexual agency? [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)



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

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

BOTTOM LINE: With the female singing chipmunk trio the Chipettes sidelined — they appear, briefly, but have little to do with the story — women here are represented primarily via a female (human) pop star — who also appears only very briefly — and the girlfriend of the Chipmunks’ human pal and “dad” Dave, who does absolutely nothing but girlfriend. (The girlfriend is a doctor, allegedly, but we never see her doctoring and her work seems to be mostly a way for the Chipmunks to get ahold of a stethoscope for one mildly comic bit.) None of that is terribly surprising. What is surprising is the scene in which the Chipmunks — which are, recall, not human; they are small arboreal rodents — express approval of a bevy of bikini-wearing human women. That’s even more gross than the “women as decorative objects” trope usually is.

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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip! 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 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip.

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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