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maryann johanson | self-isolating

Where Are the Women? The Green Inferno

Where Are the Women? The Green Inferno

The only character with any sort of arc is a young woman. But she is half-dressed half the time and subject to sexualized torture.


Is there a female protagonist? [why this matters]


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


Is there a female character with significant screen time who dresses less appropriately for the environment than her male counterparts do? [why this matters]
More than one? [why this matters]

Is there a female character with significant screen time who bares her breasts (but doesn’t appear fully nude)? [why this matters]


[no issues]


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

The real-life horror of female genital mutilation is offered up as a matter of suspense and sexualized titillation here: Will the female protagonist escape being cut in a scene that includes her writhing around naked and screaming in fear? A nightmare that millions of women around the world — including some in Western countries — are subjected to is not appropriate fodder for even cheap exploitation.
While the film contains a lot of brutal violence and gore dished out to men and women alike, only the female characters are subjected to particularly gendered types of abuse, from how “backward” Amazonian natives paw the long blonde hair of young white Western women, to how the women are subjected to genital inspections by the tribal leader (as well as the FGM scene mentioned above). There could have been a young man with long blond hair in the ensemble — it consists of a bunch of activist hippies, after all — but there isn’t. The men could have been stripped of their clothing and their genitals inspected and tormented (there are painful traditional rituals that are customary for men’s genitals in some Amazonian tribes), but they aren’t. This is torture porn with a particular interest in the sexualized torture of women.


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

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

BOTTOM LINE: The only character with any sort of arc is a young woman. And there are several other young women throughout the rest of the ensemble. It is these facts alone that save this film from scoring much worse. This is the sort of movie in which the women are half-dressed — tiny tight tank tops rule — while the men are clothed in multiple layers, and those women are objects of the film’s delight in sexualized torture… but only of women, of course.

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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of The Green Inferno! 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 The Green Inferno.

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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