Advertisement

Study: Women in movies have less than a third of speaking roles

By
Kristen Butler, UPI.com
Actress Jennifer Lawrence and actress Anne Hathaway hold their Oscars backstage at the 85th Academy Awards at the Hollywood and Highland Center in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on February 24, 2013. (File/UPI/Jim Ruymen)
Actress Jennifer Lawrence and actress Anne Hathaway hold their Oscars backstage at the 85th Academy Awards at the Hollywood and Highland Center in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on February 24, 2013. (File/UPI/Jim Ruymen) | License Photo

Despite the success of female-driven films like "The Hunger Games," the representation of women in popular movies is at its lowest level in five years, according to a study released Monday by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Among the 100 highest-grossing movies at the U.S. box office in 2012, 28.4 percent of speaking characters were female. That's a drop from 32.8 percent three years ago, and a number that has stayed relatively stagnant despite increased attention to the disparity and several box-office successes starring women.

Advertisement

"The slate of films developed and produced each year is almost formulaic -- in the aggregate, female representation hardly changed at all," said USC researcher Marc Choueiti.

When they are on the screen, 31.6 percent of women wearing sexually revealing clothing, the highest percentage in five years of USC research on the issue. For teen girls, the number who are provocatively dressed is even higher; 56.6 percent of teen girl characters in 2012 movies wore sexy clothes, an increase of 20 percent since 2009.

RELATED Mayan pyramid bulldozed by road crew in Belize

Researchers said these trends persist because Hollywood studios believe attracting a male audience is the key to box office success. "Given that females go to the movies as much as males, the lack of change is likely due to entrenched ways of thinking and doing business that perpetuate the status quo," said study author Stacy L. Smith.

Advertisement

Researchers found, unsurprisingly, that female characters are more prevalent and less sexualized in movies written and directed by women. But only 24 women have directed top-grossing films in the last five years. In 2013, female directors were outnumbered by men 5 to 1.

RELATED Australian man dead for 40 minutes brought back to life using new resuscitation technique

RELATED Police respond to Iron Man active shooter 'publicity stunt'

RELATED Paris in riots over David Beckham win with the Paris St. Germain team

RELATED Was Jay Leno's gas pump viral video staged?

RELATED Angelina Jolie says she had a preventive double mastectomy

Latest Headlines

Advertisement

Trending Stories

Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement