We Googled our way to 8,000 screenplays and matched each character’s lines to an actor. From there, we compiled the number of words spoken by male and female characters across roughly 2,000 films, arguably the largest undertaking of script analysis, ever.
They did this in 2016 so I’m guessing that there have been larger script analyses since then.
Inequality in cinematic representation can happen without any individual people doing anything wrong. For example, the above graphs show results from Disney movies. Lots of Disney movies are based on existing popular stories in which men play more active roles than women. I’m glad that Glengarry Glen Ross got made, even though it’s a 100% sausage fest. And some popular movie genres include crime movies and westerns. Most criminals are men, most cowboys were men. This in turn doesn’t mean there’s zero bias—for example, someone has to decide to make one more western rather than a movie about women friends.
Change is possible. For example, the TV show The Americans was a spy drama, but it had lots of strong female characters. I’m guessing this was somewhat ahistorical—I doubt there were so many female spies in the 1980s, and those who were around probably weren’t knocking guys down with karate kicks—but, hey, the whole thing’s a fantasy. It’s not like it would be realistic for male characters to be getting into fights and gun battles each week. Similarly, there’s no reason Superman, Batman, etc. couldn’t be female—it’s not like they’re real people anyway.
Here are the summaries from all the top 2500 box office hits:
(I was curious what was at 50/50 so I scrolled there and found The Wizard of Oz.)
And this won’t be a surprise:
Not news, but interesting to see this sort of thing in numbers.