Entertainment
Hey Hollywood: Where Are The Ladies At In Your Summer Blockbusters?
July 14, 2013
submit to reddit

women-in-film-the-heat.jpg
Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in 'The Heat' (Photo: AP)

It's no secret that women are underrepresented in Hollywood movies.

In 2012, only 28 per cent of speaking roles in Hollywood films went to female characters, and many of those roles were for "sexualized" teenagers, according to a study released earlier this year by USC Annenberg.

Well, in the realm of the summer blockbuster, things aren't looking much better, according to Amanda Dobbins at Vulture .

Dobbins has conducted a study of women in the movies this summer, comparing the percentage of female characters in this year's releases with blockbusters released in the summers between 1989 and 1993.

One of her findings: things are bad now, but they were even worse back then.

She says "2013 is a bad summer - but it is far from a record low point." In fact, Dobbins believes "this has been a problem for 25 years now."

For instance: her chart of films with a woman in a co-starring role. Dobbins defines such a role as one that is "memorable": it's not just about screentime, it's also about whether the character features in the film's marketing.

vulture-chart-co-star.jpg

As you can see, 2013 featured the lowest percentage of the modern era - but it's not as bad as 1989.

She also examined the percentage of films that feature two or more women in co-starring roles. Pretty small numbers:

vulture-chart-more-than-one-co-star.jpg

And finally, she looked at blockbusters with a woman in a starring role (meaning films in which a woman has at least equal billing with her male co-star).

vulture-chart-starring-role.jpg

Just for the record, Dobbins is talking about widely released blockbusters - movies that were shown on a large number of screens - excluding kids' movies and animated films.

Her conclusion is that this summer is "noticeably bad" for women in movies, but that "every year is bad once you start counting."

women-in-film-little-mosque.jpgBut women aren't just underrepresented on screen - there is also a distinct lack of female presence behind the camera in Canadian media, according to Women in View, a Toronto-based non-profit.

The group released a report earlier this year about 21 Canadian TV series, and found that only 16 per cent of directors were female when it came to the 272 episodes shot in 2010 and 2011.

There were no female cinematographers on any of the productions, and only 36 per cent of the screenwriters on Canadian television shows were women.

Peg Campbell, an associate professor at Vancouver's Emily Carr University of Art and Design, said she thinks women are not getting jobs in the industry partly because osf sexism, but also becaue of what people choose to watch and fund.

Those choices are partly determined by habit, Campbell believes, and she says that seeing fewer women on-screen can lead to fewer roles being written for women.

"It starts right away when people are watching a lot of the productions on television at a very young age," she said.

You can read more about that report at CBC News.

Via Vulture

Related:

Hey Comic Books: Stop Objectifying Women, Or 'The Hawkeye Initiative' Will Mock You

Strength, Unity, Courage, Respect, Equality: It's International Women's Day

On International Women's Day, Dr. Anne-Marie Pegg Live Tweets A Day In The Life Of An Aid Worker In Syria

Comments

Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.