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23 February 2017

Latest ‘It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World’ report

The latest report from Dr Martha Lauzen at the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University has found that films with at least one woman director and/or writer featured higher percentages of female protagonists, major female characters, and females in speaking roles than films with exclusively male directors and/or writers.

In some cases, the differences were dramatic. For example in films with at least one woman director and/or writer, females comprised 57% of protagonists. In films with exclusively male directors and/or writers, females accounted for 18% of protagonists.

The annual study considers the portrayals of female characters in the top 100 grossing films of 2016 (in the U.S.), and provides the most current data available.

This year’s report also found that overall females comprised 29% of protagonists. This represents an increase of 7% from 2015 and a recent historical high. Females accounted for 37% of major characters, an increase of 3% from 2015, and also a recent historical high.

However, the percentage of female characters in speaking roles (major and minor) was 32%, down 1% from 2015. Overall, the results indicate that while audiences were still more than twice as likely to see male characters as female characters in top grossing films, females fared better as protagonists and major characters in 2016.

The findings for race and ethnicity were a mixed bag. The percentage of Asian female characters doubled from 3% in 2015 to 6% in 2016, and the percentage of Black female characters increased slightly from 13% to 14%. However, the percentage of Latina characters declined slightly from 4% in 2015 to 3% in 2016.
Download the report:
2016 It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World Report.