Did you know that:
- 28% of speaking characters in family films are female
- 39% of speaking roles in prime-time programming are female
- 31% of CHILDREN’s show characters are women
What?? Wait a minute. This is crazy. We’re half the population, and barely 30% of what you see or hear on screen?
Remember the actress Geena Davis from the movie Thelma and Louise? Well, she started a research institute, called “The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media” in 2004 (why did I just discover this recently??).She works with a whole crew of specialists from various universities to study the lack of gender diversity in the entertainment industry.
Please visit her website for more information on this: http://seejane.org/
The results of her 10 years of research are startling, sad, disappointment and enraging.
Here are just some of her results:
- For every ONE female-speaking character in a film, there are 3 men.
- 4% of business leaders and 4.5 % of politicians portrayed on-screen were women.
- Very few women hold positions of power, authority or leadership on screen
- Females were over 2 times as likely as males to be shown in sexually revealing attire AND partially or fully naked.
- Female teens & adults were EQUALLY likely to be shown in sexy attire, partially or fully naked and referred to as beautiful. –There is NO difference in the sexualization of female characters between the ages of 13 and 39 years!!!!!!!!!
- Comments about your appearance are directed at females 5 TIMES as frequently as males.
- Of the characters holding a job on screen 78% were men, and 22% were women. (whaatttt???)
- Only 3.5% of characters were shown working in an STEM career (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)
- Female characters are NOT aspirational (they don’t aspire to greatness like the male characters do).
- Females are missing in action/adventure films, just 23% of speaking characters are female
- 80% of film-makers are men.
- Only 7% of film directors are women
OK, so what does all this mean?
“Exposure to media portrayals can contribute to or reinforce viewers’ occupational knowledge, career socialization, and even gender stereotypical attitudes and beliefs about work.”
If our girls, our teenagers, our sisters and our female friends do NOT see themselves in positions of power, authority and leadership on TV, film or in books, then scope of what they think they can achieve or become is narrowed and constricted.
IF YOU DON’T SEE IT, YOU CAN’T DREAM IT. IF YOU CAN’T DREAM IT, YOU CAN’T BE IT.
If all we see growing up is images of women in caretaker roles such as nurses, teachers, home-makers, maids, and love interests…..then what are we telling the next generation of women??
How will women aspire to levels of greatness if we’re constantly surrounded by mediocrity?
- We must resist this onslaught of mediocrity.
- We must demand more of ourselves and our daughters, sisters and friends.
- We must be diligent in monitoring the messages we’re feeding this generation of young women.
- Let’s talk more about Malala and Hilary Clinton and less about random celebrities.
- Let’s worry about the lack of female role models EVERYWHERE and stop obsessing over having skinny thighs and flat abs.
We are capable of SO much more.