Women’s Media Center’s fourth edition of The Status of Women in U.S. Media highlights how all platforms of media are failing women. In particular, film and television continue to let down women.
The number of women involved behind the camera in movies has stayed fairly static. Women make up only 17 percent of all directors, cinematographers, writers, editors, executive producers and producers from the top 250 movies from the United States in 2014. This is up one percent from 2013, but is equal to the amount of women behind the camera in 1998 and a decrease from 2001. Women were involved in a small amount of films, too: 93 percent of the 250 films had no female directors, 79 percent had no female writers and 78 percent had no female editors.
Despite an increase in balanced casts, women still are in the minority for speaking roles. Out of the 100 top grossing films of 2013, 16 percent of these films had a gender-balanced cast. Things are getting better: In 2012, only 6 percent of films had a balanced cast, but today, female characters still represent just 29.2 percent of all speaking roles. Men had more than double the amount of speaking roles.
Females are more likely to be sexualized than males. Compared to men, girls and women were twice as likely to be shown partially- or fully-clothed. They were also five times more likely to be referred to as “attractive”. Young women between the ages of 13 to 20 were just as likely to be sexualized as woman aged 21 to 39. They were also more likely to be portrayed as ultra thin.
LGBT characters more likely to be male. Out of the 114 films released by major studios in 2014, only 20 films included LGBT characters. Sixty-five percent of these characters were gay males and none were patently transgender. Alternatively, there were more females who were bisexual than males.
Females writers have fewer opportunities and lower paychecks. The percentage of female writers in television has decreased—to 27 percent—since 2009. However, in 2012, women made one penny more than they did in 2009. Still, they make only 92 cents for every dollar white male writers make. Female writers in film make even less, earning 77 cents for every dollar and only occupy 15 percent of all screenwriters.
Step it up, Hollywood! Women represent a large part of the audience of televisions and movies, so why shouldn't they be represented in front and behind the camera too?
You can read The Status of Women in U.S. Media in full here
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