Women in Hollywood Are Still Few and Far Between

Illustration for article titled Women in Hollywood Are Still Few and Far Between

Hollywood’s still into women in front of the camera, just not behind the lens or of color—but we knew that, right? Ava Duvernay, Kathryn Bigelow, Gina Prince-Bythewood can’t be the only women through the gate guys!


USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism released their annual report parsing Hollywood’s representation by the numbers and concluded that, despite the strides of films like Selma made by women, 2014 was pretty great for dudes—like always.

Here are the report’s takeaways:

- Only 30.2 percent of 30,285 speaking characters were females in the 700 most popular film from 2007 to 2014.

- The gender ratio is 2.3 talking dudes to every 1 woman and just 11 percent of those 700 films had “gender-balanced casts” or depicted girls/women in half of the speaking roles.

- 21 of the 700 films surveyed had a female lead. This number is similar to 2007’s 20 percent and a drop from 2013’s uptick of 28 percent of leading ladies.

- 3 of those 21 films starred a woman of color, none were lesbian or bisexual nor 45 years old or older.

- 21.8 percent of the speaking characters in action films were female while 34 percent of speaking characters in comedies were women. Go comedies?


- 19.9 percent of the middle-aged characters in films were women, which is the same percentage as in 2007.

- In 2014, women are more likely to be scantily clad than men by a ratio of 27.9 percent female to 8 percent male. Women are nearly nude by a ratio of 26.4 percent to men’s 9.1 percent.


- Female teens are more quickly sexualized than their male counterparts but middle-aged women, not so much.

- Of all of the top grossing 100 films in 2014, only 15.8 percent “of content creators working as directors, writers, and producers were women. Women only accounted for 1.9 percent of directors, 11.2 percent of writers, and 18.9 percent of producers. Put differently, only 2 women directed across the 100 top films of 2014.


- From 2007 to 2014, just 28 women have directed a top-grossing film and only three were black.

- On the LGBT side, of the 4,610 talking characters in the film’s USC surveyed only 19 were lesbian, gay or bisexual and only one was transgender. “Ten characters were coded as Gay, 4 were Lesbian, and 5 were Bisexual. Only 14 movies sample wide featured an LGBT depiction and none of those films were animated.”


- Of the intimated gay characters, most were male and only 36.8 percent were female. Most were white and just 15.8 percent were of color.

Contact the author at hillary@jezebel.com.

Image via Getty.


Cherith Cutestory

It’s so fucking disheartening. And I don’t just think it’s a Hollywood problem. We, the audience, talk about female characters differently than males. Even here. We judge them more harshly than men. If multiple men are cast for a project it’s often cool. If multiple women they are more often than not pited against each other.

It won’t change until the whole we way talk about women compared to the way we talk about men changes. It’s not just a studio problem.