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New Report: Female Characters Still Under-Represented in Films

posted by Nell Minow

Despite the critical and financial success of “Gravity” and “The Hunger Games,” it is still hard to find movies with strong leading female characters.  A new report from Women in TV and Film shows little progress.  The title is pointed: “It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World: On-Screen Representations of Female Characters in the Top 100 Films of 2013.  Author Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D found that

Female characters remained dramatically under-represented as protagonists, major characters, and speaking (major and minor) characters in the top grossing films of 2013. Females comprised 15% of protagonists, 29% of major characters, and 30% of all speaking characters. Only 13% of the top 100 films featured equal numbers of major female and male characters, or more major female characters than male characters. Female characters were younger than their male counterparts and were more likely than males to have an identifiable marital status. Further, female characters were less likely than males to have clearly identifiable goals or be portrayed as leaders of any kind.

The findings on racial diversity were even more dismal.  “Moviegoers were as likely to see an other-worldly female as they were to see an Asian female character.”

I hope this report embarrasses the studios into doing better in 2014.

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