Two recent studies found that representation still lags for female characters, especially in roles for women of color.
Women Make Up One-Third of Speaking Roles
Men outnumbered women on screen in 2021 films by two to one according to a recent study from San Diego State’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.
The center’s report, dubbed “It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World,” analyzed last year’s top 100 grossing films. Of those pictures, 31% had a female protagonist, compared to the 57% of films led by men. The remaining 12% had an ensemble.
The protagonist representation spiked upwards slightly from 2020 but still fell short of the 40% of films with female leads in 2019.
The report also found that women took up 35% of “major character” roles while men took up 65%. The figures were nearly identical when it came to speaking roles, with women and men accounting for 34% and 66% of those parts respectively.
“An astounding 85% of films featured more male than female characters,” the report continued. “Only 7% of films had more female than male characters. 8% of films featured equal numbers of female and male characters.”
Women were also “younger than their male counterparts” in films. Roles for female characters dropped from 34% for women in their 30s to 18% for women in their 40s.
Racial diversity did improve slightly. Just over 60% of female roles were for white characters, down significantly from the 71% in 2020. Representation for Black women in speaking roles increased to 19.3% from 16.9% last year.
The biggest ground was gained for Latina and Asian characters. For female speaking characters, 9.5% were Latina, up from 5.8%, and 8.4% were Asian or Asian American, up from 6%.
The report noted, however, that this progress was thanks only to a handful of films. If pictures like “Encanto,” “West Side Story,” “Spirit Untamed,” “Cry Macho,” and “In the Heights” are taken out of the equation, essentially no gain was shown for Latina speaking roles. A similar pattern followed for films with largely Asian casts.
Diversity Growth Concentrated in Select Films
While speaking to The Hollywood Reporter Martha Lauzen, the executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, highlighted the fact that Latina and Asian roles were concentrated in certain films “rather than integrated throughout the industry.”
“Despite the major disruptions in the film business over the last couple of years, on-screen gender ratios have remained relatively stable,” she continued in a statement. “Last year audiences saw almost two male characters for every female character, and although women protagonists led some of the most high-profile films including ‘Spencer,’ ‘Being the Ricardos’ and ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye,’ women comprised slightly less than one third of sole protagonists last year.”
The University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative also released a study analyzing on-screen diversity this week. Their report, titled “Inequality Across 1,500 Popular Films,” likewise looked at the top 100 grossing movies of 2021. It similarly found that women were under-represented, but did find slightly more gender representation.
The report claimed that 41% of those movies featured a female lead or co-lead driving the plot. Discrepancies between reports like these can stem from a number of factors, including how each study defined “major characters,” “speaking roles,” and other criteria.
The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative study specifically noted that the pandemic impacted the rate at which representation has grown in film, stating that it caused a slump for women in 2020, but adding: “the pre-pandemic gains observed at the box office in 2019 held into 2021 after a dip in 2020.”
The study also found that just 32% of films featured a lead or co-lead from an underrepresented race or ethnicity, which is below proportional representation. When it came to women of color, specifically, just 11 movies in total had a female lead from an underrepresented group.
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (Variety) (Entertainment Weekly)
Twitch Faces Backlash After Booking Megan Thee Stallion At TwitchCon Amid Creator Pay Cuts
The cut in revenue share has ignited severe backlash on Twitch, where users argue pay for creators should be increased, not slashed.
Revenue Share Shake Up
Twitch users are criticizing the company for hiring artist Megan Thee Stallion to perform at TwitchCon just one week after announcing cutbacks to top creator pay.
Last week, the video and streaming platform said that starting in June of next year, some creators will receive less revenue from their subscriptions. While the standard split for subscription revenue is 50/50, some major streamers previously received a more favorable 70/30 share in premium agreement terms.
Many creators have long argued that everyone should get that 70/30 share, but Twitch took a step in the opposite direction. In the future, streamers with premium terms will only get the 70/30 slice for their first $100,000 from subscription revenue. After that, they will get bumped down to the regular 50/50 cut.
The company argued the move was necessary as the premium terms previously lacked transparency and consistency, insisting it tried to modify the policy in a way that impacted the least amount of creators. According to Twitch’s statement, 90% of streamers on standard agreements will not even be impacted by the change.
Still, this move outraged Twitch users who were furious the company was not investing more in the creators that bring so many viewers to its platform. Those frustrations were exacerbated on Wednesday when the company announced Megan Thee Stallion would make an appearance at TwitchCon, a weekend-long event set to take place in San Diego in early October.
Backlash Continues to Mount
While no details of Megan Thee Stallion’s agreement to perform have been disclosed, one can assume she charges a pretty penny to book at an event of this nature. Critics argued that if Twitch is willing to spend money on her, it should be willing to spend it on its own streamers.
“So Twitch can’t afford to pay their creators 70/30, can’t fix their media player that crashes after each ad, can’t enforce their policies so people aren’t doing inappropriate things on stream, but they can afford paying celebrities to promote their streaming site?” one person wrote.
“It’s weird that a company that just announced a bunch of budget cuts due to infrastructure costs goes out and grabs an A-list musician instead of promoting their own musicians that run on their platform,” another person claimed.
“Instead of giving your creators a cut they deserve when they do so much work, this is what you do…?” one user asked. “Maybe give your creators a better deal instead of wasting their hard earned money on things we don’t even want.”
Twitch has not responded to the outrage, but Megan Thee Stallion was not the only music act the Amazon-owned service booked for the event. Kim Petras and Meet Me at the Altar will also take the stage at TwitchCon.
The backlash comes as concerns have been mounting against Twitch for a plethora of reasons including creator pay, gambling streams, and more.
In recent months, some of the platform’s biggest names have left Twitch in favor of rival services like YouTube Gaming.
“Dahmer” Series Breaks Netflix Records Amid Backlash For Exploiting Victims’ Stories
Family members of some of the murderer’s victims say the program is “retraumatizing.”
“Dahmer” Lands Successful Week on Netflix
While criticisms mount against “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” the true crime series broke Netflix’s record as the most-watched first week for a series debut.
According to data provided by the streaming giant, the Evan Peters-led show was watched for over 196 million hours between its release on Sept. 21 and Sept. 25.
“Dahmer” is the newest of several pieces of fiction and media based on the famous serial killer. Created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, the series quickly generated a lot of attention online, primarily from those concerned the show is exploiting a gruesome true story.
Critics have echoed those fears, giving the show a mixed 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The “Critic’s Consensus” blurb on the site states that while the show is “seemingly self-aware of the peril in glorifying Jeffrey Dahmer” the story still “tilts this horror story into the realm of queasy exploitation.”
Victims’ Families Speak Out
The family of Errol Lindsey, one of Dahmer’s victims, has also spoken out against the series. In a viral tweet, Lindsey’s cousin Eric Perry said his family is “pissed about the show.”
“It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what?” he wrote. “How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?”
In much of the promotion for the series, Netflix claimed it would be told from the perspective of the victims. Perry slammed that narrative, noting that his family was never even contacted by the streamer about the project.
“So when they say they’re doing this ‘with respect to the victims’ or ‘honoring the dignity of the families’, no one contacts them,” he wrote. “My cousins wake up every few months at this point with a bunch of calls and messages and they know there’s another Dahmer show. It’s cruel.”
Lindsey’s sister, Rita Isbell, echoed that claim in an essay she wrote for Insider, noting that Netflix did not notify her of the show, or ask her any questions about her brother.
She said that watching the show “felt like reliving it all over again.”
“It brought back all the emotions I was feeling back then,” she wrote.
“It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed,” she continued.
Obsession With Dahmer
Controversy has also grown from some of the responses to the series, as many viewers have posted fan edits of the show that romanticize Dahmer. Some pair clips of Peters’ Dahmer with his victims to love songs or pop ballads, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of those who do not understand why someone would make content glorifying the killer.
Others have responded to the show by calling Dahmer “hot” or posting thirst tweets about his mug shot. This has resulted in a backlash of its own.
“Jeffrey Dahmer molested and murdered people, mostly black men and boys,” one person wrote. “So to see people making edits and thirst traps of him is a little off putting.”
“if I see anyone tweeting thirst tweets about Jeffrey Dahmer I’m immediately unfollowing,” another person said. “That’s so fuckin nasty.”
Concerns that this kind of media results in more people admiring Dahmer are also mounting in Milwaukee, where many of his crimes took place. According to TMZ, the city is considering creating something to honor the victims, but officials fear a physical memorial would turn into a “mecca” for Dahmer’s fans.
YouTube Removes Age Restriction From Nicki Minaj Video After Singer Calls Company a “Bogus Platform”
Even though her video can now be viewed by all YouTuber users, Minaj made it clear she was upset that the age-gate tanked its view count in the first 24 hours.
Nicki Minaj Vs. YouTube
Nicki Minaj called out YouTube on Monday after the platform age-restricted her new music video for “Likkle Miss Remix” featuring Skeng.
By age-restricting a video, YouTube blocks users who are under 18 or not logged into a Google account from viewing the content.
Minaj’s video features close-up shots of people in skimpy outfits twerking, but several videos on YouTube with similar imagery have not been gated. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” video is available for everyone, as is Minaj’s own “Anaconda” video.
In a since-deleted Instagram post, Minaj accused YouTube of being inconsistent and playing favorites.
“They restricted my fucking video but have things a million fucking times worse on their BOGUS FKNG PLATFORM,” she wrote in a post that included a screenshot of YouTube’s age-restriction notice. “This is what they do to keep you from winning while doing ads for another ppl and posting fake fkng stats. Because the same ppl who run YouTube are in bed with a certain record label and mngmnt company.”
Minaj further alleged that YouTube’s actions were done to prevent her from getting a significant number of views in the video’s first 24 hours, which is often the most crucial timeframe for a video’s success. She continued to assert that the Google-owned company has a bias toward certain music labels.
YouTube Walks Back Restriction
“How long have yall been playing the numbers game to lie & pretend ppl r doing ‘good’ when they r not?!?!!” Minaj continued in another post. “How much ad space did these duds purchase to be promoted on my channel in the last 5 years?!??!!!!”
Later on Monday, YouTube removed the restriction from Minaj’s video, per Variety. The company said the content in it did not violate its rules and guidelines.
While Minaj ended up deleting her Instagram posts calling YouTube out, she made it clear she was still frustrated by the debacle.
“FUCK THEM DUDS,” she tweeted. “THEY CANT GIVE US BACK OUR FIRST 24 HOURS CAN THEY?!?!!!”
As of Monday afternoon, her video had been viewed over one million times.