A new study conducted by colleagues at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism confirms what we’ve all, sadly, assumed to be true: Even in the post-Sex and the City blockbuster, Kathryn Bigelow-wins-an-Oscar era, there’s still of inequality between men and women in Hollywood. On-camera, the female players are fewer and more sexualized than males. Behind-the-scenes, the number of women comes nowhere near matching that of men as directors, writers, and producers. The study examined the 100 top-grossing films of 2009. Among the findings:
• Only 32.8 percent of the speaking characters were female
• Only 22.2 percent of those female speaking roles were women 40-64 years of age, whereas 35.2 percent of the male speaking roles were 40 or older
• Females were more likely to be shown in “sexy attire” than man (25.8 percent vs. 4.7 percent), as well as more likely to appear partially naked (23.6 percent vs. 7.4 percent). Among females specifically, 13-20-year-olds were just as likely as 21-39-year-olds to be show in sexy attire (33.8 percent vs. 33.5 percent) and partially naked (28.2 percent vs. 30.5 percent)
• 62.8 percent of women were depicted in a committed romantic relationship, while only 51.8 percent of men were
• Looking at 1,240 “gate-keeping” positions, only 3.6 percent of directors were female (a total of four), 13.5 percent of the writers were female, and 21.6 percent of producers were female
What are your thoughts? Mostly, I’m wondering what constitutes “sexy attire” for men (Idris Elba wearing a suit in Obsessed count?) and how, looking at that year’s top grossers, All About Steve made more than (500) Days of Summer. Have we made any strides in the last two years? We’ll have to wait for their next annual report. Spoiler: Only two of 2010’s Top 100 grossing films were directed by women, The Last Song (Julie Anne Robinson) and Nanny McPhee Returns (Susanna White).