"We see remarkably stable trends," said USC Annenberg associate professor Stacy L. Smith. "This reveals an industry formula for gender that may be outside of people's conscious awareness."Marginalization is a snake eating its own tail: The more any non-privileged group is marginalized, the more they're marginalized.
It's not just the ratio of female to male characters that continues to be imbalanced but the manner in which they're depicted, according to Smith.
The USC study determined that women were still far more likely than men to wear sexy clothing in movies, such as swimwear and unbuttoned shirts (25.8% versus 4.7%), to expose skin (23% versus 7.4%) and to be described by another character as attractive (10.9% versus 2.5%).
Revealing clothing and partial nudity was just as prevalent among 13- to 20-year-old female characters as it was among those 21 to 29, suggesting that females are sexualized on-screen at young ages, Smith said.
Behind the camera, the gender inequality is just as dramatic: only 3.6% of the directors and 13.5% of the writers on the top-grossing films of 2009 were female, according to the study.
Researchers found that the sex of the storytellers had a significant effect on what appeared on-screen. In movies directed by women, 47.7% of the characters were female; in movies directed by men, fewer than a third of the characters were female. When one or more of the screenwriters was female, 40% of characters were female; when all the screenwriters were male, 29.8% of the characters were female.
Posted by Melissa McEwan at Wednesday, November 23, 2011
32.8%: The percentage of the 4,342 speaking characters from the top 100-grossing movies of 2009 who were female; 67.2% were male, and the percentages remained unchanged from 2008, according to the study done by the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.