If you think popular media is still chauvinist or even misogynist, but you didn’t know about the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, you should look into them.
I found out about their latest research study, Gender Roles & Occupations: A Look at Character Attributes and Job-Related Aspirations in Film and Television, and was not surprised, but still a little bit shocked with the numbers after they “analyzed 11,927 speaking characters for gender roles across three media: films rated (G, PG, PG-13); prime-time programs on 10 channels; and 36 children’s TV shows”
“Few stories are “gender-balanced” or show females in 45-55% of all speaking roles. Only 11% of family films, 19% of children’s shows, and 22% of prime-time programs feature girls and women in roughly half of all speaking parts.”
Here’s a powerful set of conclusions:
The general thrust is not surprising to me. However, as a consumer of family films, I was stunned that for women, sexy clothes, nudity, the importance of being attractive, and the thin body imperative was quite so dominant with respect to males. Roughly 3:1. The ratio is less horrid among children’s shows, but still imbalanced.
As partakers of media, we need to sift through the imbalanced crap, and find the best that is out there. And when we find imbalance, we should contextualize it with our children by pointing it out and discussing how it is not representative of real life.