Stats from Miss Representation

Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s Miss Representation— a documentary about how mainstream media contributes to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America– aired on OWN last week. TV viewers learned the following stats, listed below. Makes you think twice about taking your kid to a movie.

Only 16% of protagonists in film are female. Only 7% of film directors and 10% of writers are female.

Between 1937 and 2005 there were only 13 female protagonists in animated movies. The female characters in G rated movies are just as likely to wear revealing clothing as in R rated movies.

Women and girls are the subject of less than 20% of news stories. “When a group is not featured in the media… it is called symbolic annhilation.” Martha Lauzen, Center for the Study of Women in TV and Film

“All of Hollywood is run on one assumption: That women will watch stories about men, but men won’t watch stories about women. It is a horrible indictment of our society of we assume that one half of our population is just not interested in the other half.”
– Geena Davis

Here’s a a link to Reel Girl’s gallery of girls gone missing from 2011 kids’ films.

More stats and facts here.

8 thoughts on “Stats from Miss Representation

  1. My brother said yesterday that he was disappointed that the lead character in the hunger games was female cause “with girls it get’s sentimental”. And I answered “That didn’t seem to bother you in Kill Bill? (which is one of his favourite films)”. He mumbled a bit and then said I was right.

    • Oveeja,

      How old is your brother? He seems older but I really believe parents need to be much more active in media choices for their kids much younger. The more I think about Disney execs claiming “girls will see movies about boys, but boys won’t see movies about girls,” the more pissed off I get. In families with brother and sisters, “boy” movies always win out? What does that teach the kids in the family? How early does it start that kids learn “boy stuff” is cooler than “girl stuff”

  2. Hm, that’s weird. Last time I checked, the movie industry was doing great by producing movies that made money. Sorry but Hollywood is a business not a charity for your political and sociological motives – they’re in it to make money. They make what people want and actually DO go to see. I know people these days have issues with companies actually making money if they don’t do it how they want it, but this is just ridiculous. Stop complaining about something that just isn’t an issue. I’m not prejudice towards women at all because I didn’t watch many female leads as a child.

    Your entire website is made up of self-conceived issues that stretch to find an issue rather than actually examining what some real problems are. How about you stop worrying about stereotyping that just isn’t there or actually get smart and realize there’s no point in bringing it up. You’re not going to change something that isn’t a problem in the first place.

  3. “All of Hollywood is run on one assumption: That women will watch stories about men, but men won’t watch stories about women.”

    I have three words for those executives:

    “Friendship Is Magic”

    That is all.

    • Meh, as a public librarian, I do actually see some truth in that- running even a middle school book club, the girls don’t care about the sex of the protagonist, but the boys tune out if it’s female. Generally speaking.

  4. This doesn’t seem right somehow; I count more than 13 female protagonists in Disney animated films alone (unless I’m meant to exclude films in which there are male and female co-protagonists, like in The Rescuers). I’d like to see more on the data she’s working with, but the article is disappointingly lacking in citations.

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