Why should we care that there (still) aren’t a lot of lady characters in movies?

Dirty Hollywood

Women and girls make up about 50% of the world’s population – but according to the movies, we’re far less significant.

Per the recently released study “Gender Bias without Boarders: An Investigation of Female Characters in Popular Films Across 11 Countries,” on average, only 30.9% of speaking characters are women. Further, sexualizing women and girls between the ages of thirteen and thirty-nine and excluding them (us) from prestigious occupations is pretty standard.

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I read this study and – sadly – wasn’t really surprised. None of this information seemed new, just a global-level rehashing of the same old gender inequality problem. That then made me wonder: why should we even care?

Here’s the thing. Lots of people say feminism is dead, like, we don’t need it anymore.  But if feminism* in general is the call for human gender equality, which it is, and our realities are skewed such that we as a global population are willing to accept such grossly unequal representations of women and girls… well, doesn’t that mean we still need feminism? Beyoncé thinks we do, and so does Hermione Granger. And so do I.

* P.S. Feminism is not a one-size-fits-all concept, thus feminisms is a more accurate way of saying it. Race, sexuality, and many other dimensions are also factors that we need to consider, both in media representations and in real life.

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Guest Post by: Chauntelle Tibbals, Ph.D.
Twitter: @drchauntelle

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