Where Are the Women? Dope

Where Are the Women? Dope

All of the women here function solely as support for the male protagonist: as a happily helpful friend, as an object of lust, as an understanding mother.


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


Is a woman or women used as decorative objects/set dressing? [why this matters]
Is this a major recurring visual motif? [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]
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 issue of “femininity used as a joke” [why this is a problem], here we have the male protagonist’s female sidekick, who is a lesbian and is constantly being mistaken for a boy, which everyone seems to find hilarious.


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

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

BOTTOM LINE: All of the girls and women in this film function solely as support for the male protagonist as he goes on a life-changing personal journey: as a friend who happily helps with even the most dubious and dangerous of schemes, as an object of love or lust, as a wholly understanding mother. Even the one character who might have offered a more progressive portrait ends up serving as reinforcement of the male-dominated status quo: the female friend who is a lesbian only underscores the film’s objectifying male gaze as she joins the male protagonist in ogling women.

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

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

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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