Men vs Women In Film: A Study Of Sad Statistics That MUST Be Changed!

There have been a fair few rumblings in the film industry where women in influential positions are speaking out in favor of more female involvement to balance out the scales. Because for those of us who don’t pay attention to the fine details, there is something huge missing in Hollywood, the equal presence of women amongst men, both in front of the camera and behind.

Diablo Cody has spoken about the need for more women writers and directors, so has Eva Longoria, Michelle Rodrigues, and Lake Bell just to name a few. Well its not just hearsay, because a study by the New York Film Academy recently released shows some pretty sad statistics that these women in Hollywood have been telling us for a while. Basically, it’s still a man’s world and we have a long way to go to really reach 100% gender equality in the industry.

The study was done off the back of the Hunger Games: Catching Fire’s phenomenal box office success in its opening weekend. Although it looks set to be the biggest film of the year, starring a woman lead character, it is an anomaly amongst the crowd.

“After reviewing the data, it is clear that Hollywood remains stuck in its gender bias. Of course, it’s not all disparaging news and there are a number of female filmmakers, characters, and emerging talent challenging the status quo.” says the Nicholas Zurko who conducted the study.

“By shedding light on gender inequality in film, we hope to start a discussion about what can be done to increase women’s exposure and power in big-budget films.”

In the top 500 films in Hollywood between 2007 – 2012, only 30% of speaking characters are women, 28.8% of women wore sexually revealing clothes (as opposed to 7% of men!), 26.2% of women get partially naked (while only 9.4% of men do the same) and a measly 10.7% of movies feature a balanced cast where there are an equal number of men and women. Wow. But don’t start getting depressed just yet, because that’s only the icing on the (sad, droopy, very yucky) cake). Take a look at some of their info graphs below:

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Don’t worry, there is hope. Throughout the study they were able to identify key women in the industry that will hopefully inspire more women to get in the game.

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The conclusion was that there is still a long way to go before we start seeing some of these statistics even out a little more, but with a 4% increase in 2012, we do have hope. The hope is that the more women are involved in all aspects of the industry the less overtly sexual roles we’ll see and more active, healthy role models will be written and created.

If more film industries around the world were to adopt Sweden’s Bechdel Rating system which highlights gender bias, perhaps this would foresee huge change. The Bechdel test means in order for a film to get an “A” rating in Sweden, it must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.

“Beliefs about women’s roles in society are influenced by the fact that movie watchers rarely see “a female superhero or a female professor or person who makes it through exciting challenges and masters them”, said Ellen Tejle, a cinema director in Sodermalm, Sweden said about the Bechdel ratings test. “The goal is to see more female stories and perspectives on cinema screens.”

The Bechdel test got its name from American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who introduced the concept in her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1985.

How many more studies will it take worldwide before we all get the message that there isn’t enough gender equality in movies? Hopefully not too many, as these statistics alone should be enough to create action. We need more women in film! If you are thinking of a career in film and wanted to find a good enough to reason to tell everyone why you are joining the circus, this is it. This is an honorable cause, as it goes beyond just entertainment, but serves to create realistic role models and expectations of women upon young audiences who grow up under the heavy influence of Hollywood and its celluloid stars.

 

15 Comments

  1. Here is the deal on some of these stats. Years ago women stayed home to raise the family and were multi-talented (teacher, nurse, chef, accountant, etc.). It took awhile for us to realize we were capable of doing even more than that. Men know that, but they aren’t willing to let us in now. We will get there tho, eventually. After all we are a multi-talented species and a force that is just coming out of our shell.

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