The numbers are staggering in a report released Wednesday by USC Annenberg’s Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative.
Examining gender and race/ethnicity across 700 top-grossing US films from 2007 to 2014, the study shows troubling findings like only 30.2% percent of speaking characters in those 700 films were female; out of the over 4,600 speaking roles in the top 100 films in 2014, only 19 were lesbian, gay or bisexual (none were transgender); and in 2014 only 17 of the 100 top films featured a lead or co-lead from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group.
The report, spearheaded by Dr. Stacy L. Smith, is even more disturbing when made up as charts. Here are a few from the report:
Looking at the report, New York Times critic Manhole Dargis writes in regards to lack of women in movies: “Among other things, the findings are a blunt reminder that female-driven blockbusters like 'The Hunger Games' and African-American dramas like 'Selma' remain exceptions in a largely homogeneous field.”
This is not the first time a study by Dr. Smith revealed a white, male-dominated movie industry.
The study on the same topics she did looking at 500 films from 2007-2012 motivated Senator Barbara Boxer (D - California) and four other female senators to send a letter to the major movie studios asking them to respond to Dr. Smith’s findings. In June of this year, Boxer praised Warner Brothers for their recent hires of females for some of their upcoming big movies, Variety reported.
“When women’s voices are heard, whether in the U.S. Congress or in the film industry, it strengthens our country,” Boxer wrote in a letter to Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO, Kevin Tsujihara, according to Variety. “I will continue to follow the issue of women directors and your studio’s efforts to expand diversity at all levels.”
BI reached out to Senator Boxer for comment on Dr. Smith’s latest report, but have not yet received a response. We will update this story where appropriate.
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