Report Finds Men Outnumbered Women on Screen in 2021
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)
Max to Agrees to “Properly” Credit Writers and Directors After Facing Backlash For Lumping Them in As “Creators”
The company said the credits were laid out incorrectly due to “an oversight in the technical transition from HBO Max to Max.”
After film and television writers slammed Max for crediting all writers, producers, and directors as general “creators” on its platform, the company said it will be adjusting its credits display.
“We agree that the talent behind the content on Max deserve their work to be properly recognized,” the streaming service said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
Max — the new rebrand of HBO Max that incorporates Discovery content — launched on Tuesday to much criticism. Amid glitches and app-switching confusion, the biggest backlash it faced was over the choice to lump creative roles into one credit section called “creators.” As one viral tweet noted, if a user were to select the film “Raging Bull,” the service’s display would not specifically credit Martin Scorsese as the director, rather, his name would be included at random with half a dozen other people, including writers and producers.
The decision was condemned by many in the industry who argued it minimizes writers and directors by not properly giving them credit where it is due. Especially amid the ongoing writers’ strike, and with directors and actors starting negotiations with studios, some took it as a slap in the face.
“The studios don’t want anyone to know our names,” writer Christina Strain tweeted. “It’s easier to pay us nothing if we’re faceless.”
“Another move from studios to diminish the role of writers, directors, actors and other craftspeople. Miss me wit this nonsense,” Jorge Rivera, the Vice-Chair of the Writers Guild’s Latinx Writers Committee, added.
In a statement, Directors Guild President Lesli Linka Glatter said that Warner Bros. Discovery’s choice to “collapse” these roles into one credit “while we are in negotiations with them is a grave insult to our members and our union.”
“The DGA will not stand for it,” Glatter continued.
WGA West President Meredith Stiehm claimed the move was “a credits violation,” as well as an insult “to the artists that make the films and TV shows that make their corporation billions.”
On Wednesday, Max said it would rework its crediting.
“We will correct the credits, which were altered due to an oversight in the technical transition from HBO Max to Max and we apologize for this mistake,” the platform said.
See what others are saying: (Gizmodo) (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Los Angeles Times)
A Quarter of Young British Men Support Andrew Tate’s Thoughts on Women
U.K. residents at large, however, do not view him favorably.
Even under house arrest in Romania, misogynist influencer Andrew Tate still holds substantial sway over young men.
According to data from YouGov that was obtained by The Independent, 26% of U.K. men between 18 and 29 years old who know of Tate agree with his views on women. That figure was largely the same for men between 30 and 39, as 28% agreed with Tate’s opinions on the subject.
Men in their 30s were slightly more likely to agree with Tate on his thoughts about masculinity. Three out of ten supported those views, compared to just a quarter of men 18 to 29.
Those statistics only include the thoughts of men who have heard of Tate, but per YouGov, most have. In the 18 to 29 group, 93% were familiar with him, and 86% of men in their 30s knew of him.
The U.K. at large was less aware of Tate, with just 63% of British adults having heard of him. Of that group, only 6% held a positive view of him.
Tate has faced substantial backlash for his sexist rhetoric over the years. In the past, he said that men should have “authority” over their wives or girlfriends, and that women should “bear some responsibility” for being raped. He was previously banned from Twitter over his extremist views on women but has since been allowed back on the platform.
He is currently being investigated in Romania for organized crime and human trafficking. He was arrested and held in custody in December but was released to house arrest earlier this year. No formal charges have been filed against him yet and he has maintained his innocence.
Tate currently boasts a Twitter following of 6.7 million. It has grown significantly since he was enveloped in legal controversy, and many of his supporters have demanded his release.
See what others are saying: (The Independent) (Glamour U.K.)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Involved in “Near Catastrophic” Paparazzi Chase
“While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety,” a spokesperson for the couple said.
“Aggressive” Paparazzi Chase Couple in New York
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were involved in a “near catastrophic” paparazzi car chase Tuesday night in New York City, according to a spokesperson for the couple.
In a statement, the spokesperson described the photographers as “highly aggressive.”
“While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety,” the statement added.
“This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers,” it continued.
Details of the incident are still emerging, but BBC News reported that there are claims the chase involved roughly six cars driving recklessly by running red lights, driving on the sidewalk, carrying out blocking moves, going backward on a one-way road, and taking pictures while driving.
The chase happened after Harry and Meghan were leaving the Women of Vision Awards with Meghan’s mother, Doria. They did not want photographers to learn where they were staying and attempted to avoid them in what turned into a 75-minute chase on a main road in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. They eventually ducked into a New York Police Department Precinct to hide out before getting into a different vehicle.
The NYPD released a statement confirming that they assisted in protecting the couple as “numerous photographers” hindered their transport. Officials said they made it to their destination and there were no collisions, injuries, or arrests.
The couple’s spokesperson is asking the public to not share or post footage of the incident.
“Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all in involved,” the spokesperson said.
Memories of Princess Diana
The chase evokes the brutal press hounding Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, was subjected to throughout her life. The paparazzi’s obsession with her ultimately resulted in her death in 1997, when she was killed in a car crash after being chased by photographers in Paris.
Since marrying Meghan and later bowing out of the Royal Family, Harry has made it explicitly clear that he fears those events could happen again. Meghan has been the subject of endless tabloid scrutiny, enduring racism and harassment from the press. Part of the reason they left the Royal Family was to keep their family protected from such attacks.
Mayor Eric Adams brought up Diana’s tragic passing while speaking about Tuesday night’s chase.
“I don’t think there’s many of us who don’t recall how [Harry’s] mom died,” Adams said while speaking to reporters. “And it would be horrific to lose an innocent bystander during a chase like this and something to have happened to them as well…I think that was a bit reckless and irresponsible.”
Adams also questioned whether or not he believes a chase could go on for two hours in a city as congested as New York, but noted that even a 10-minute chase would be dangerous. He said he will be briefed on the exact timeline and details later.