Study shines spotlight on in­equal­ity in movies

The China Post - - ARTS - BY JAKE COYLE

Women had less than a third of speak­ing parts in the most pop­u­lar films from 2007 to 2014, ac­cord­ing to a new study that gives fur­ther ev­i­dence of per­sis­tent in­equal­ity in Hol­ly­wood, on-screen and off.

The Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s (USC) An­nen­berg School for Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and Jour­nal­ism ex­am­ined the 700 top-gross­ing films be­tween 2007 and 2014 for the study, re­leased Wed­nes­day. The re­sults, re­searchers said, re­veal “a com­plete pic­ture of Hol­ly­wood’s in­dis­putable bias against fea­tur­ing fe­males, peo­ple of color and LGBT char­ac­ters on screen.”

USC found lit­tle signs of im­prove­ment. In 2014’s 100 most pop­u­lar movies, 21 fea­tured a fe­male lead, about the same per­cent­age as the 20 found among the top films of 2007.

Be­hind the cam­era isn’t bet­ter. Of the top 100 films in 2014, two were di­rected by women. In 2007, there were three. Of the 700 films ex­am­ined, three were di­rected by African-Amer­i­cans.

“By ex­am­in­ing the trends over time, it is clear that no progress has been made ei­ther on screen or be- hind the cam­era when it comes to rep­re­sent­ing re­al­ity,” said USC pro­fes­sor Stacy L. Smith, au­thor of the study. “This re­port re­flects a dis­mal record of di­ver­sity for not just one group, but for fe­males, peo­ple of color and the LGBT com­mu­nity.”

The study adds to a grow­ing body of data that has il­lus­trated equal­ity in the movie in­dus­try. In May, the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union asked state and fed­eral agen­cies to in­ves­ti­gate the hir­ing prac­tices by the ma­jor stu­dios, net­works and tal­ent agen­cies, specif­i­cally in re­gard to the hir­ing of fe­male di­rec­tors.


Mariah Carey, right, and her son Moroccan Cannon pose dur­ing a cer­e­mony honor­ing Carey with a star on the Hol­ly­wood Walk of Fame in Los An­ge­les on Wed­nes­day, Aug. 5.

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