New Study Confirms Our Worst Fears About Roles For Women In Hollywood

Courtesy: Universal Pictures
If it seems like there are 20 Star-Lords for every Katniss, well, you're not imagining things. Even though the 2014 box office seemed like it was absolutely teeming with estrogen, women were only 12% of the onscreen protagonists of the year's top-grossing films. What's worse, that's 3% less than 2013.

Dr. Martha Lauzen, the executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University and the author of the study, told Variety, "There is a growing disconnect or gap between what we might perceive as being the current status of women in film and their actual status. A few high-profile cases can skew our thinking." 

There's also a dearth of women in supporting roles, making up "29% of major characters and 30% of all speaking characters," according to the study. Moreover, female characters are typically younger and are more likely to be identified as wives or moms rather than their careers, contrasted with male characters. 

The age differential is especially important. Lauzen said, "As we grow older, we gain personal as well as professional power. When we keep them young, we keep them relatively powerless."

The behind-the-scenes numbers aren't great either, as previous reports have shown. And, one of the biggest reveals of the Sony hack was the pay differential between top earners based on gender. Charlize Theron reportedly negotiated a $10 million raise for her starring role in The Huntsman, which is exactly $10 million less than what her co-star Chris Hemsworth was getting. Have you seen Theron as Queen Ravenna? She's the MVP of that movie.

"People tend to create what they know and having lived their lives as females, women tend to be drawn to female characters. We need to have greater diversity behind the scenes if this is going to change," said Lauzen.

The revolution starts from within. We can vote with our cold, hard cash, but until there are more people who aren't just white dudes writing, producing, and directing films, we won't be seeing much of a difference onscreen. [Variety]
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