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Memo to all women: No half for you in Hollywood

February 23, 2010 |  5:04 pm


OK, we’re not just imagining it.

Women may make up 51% of the population, but actresses nabbed only 29.9% of the 4,379 speaking parts in the 100 top-grossing films of 2007, or so says a new study released by University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, which was conducted by professor Stacy. L Smith. 

According to Smith’s study, 83% of all directors, writers, and producers on those films were male. Not surprisingly, the number of female characters grew dramatically when a woman directed a film -- up to 44.6% from 29.3% if a man was behind the camera.

That number would probably be even lower if Smith and her team had to factor in "The Hurt Locker," from filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow, who many believe will be the first woman to win an Academy Award for directing come March 7. The number of parts for females in her movie? According to IMDB, only three of the 34 actors were women, which means they accounted around 9% of the characters on screen.

A few more numbers to consider: Smith said these statistics about women directors and female actors should be interpreted with caution -- only three of the top 100 films of 2007 had a female director.

-- Rachel Abramowitz

Photo of Kathryn Bigelow by Jonathan Olley / Summit Entertainment.

Comments () | Archives (3)

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I wonder if those stats stack up in the adult video market... I think not

@a good friend: I didn't know "adult videos" had any dialogue.

Women accounted around 9% of the characters on screen in Kathryn Bigelow's movie . . . about a US bomb squad in Iraq. Women make up about 20 percent of today's military, and that number is probably much smaller on explosives teams. In this case, art imitates life. We would need to see a change in the military before we see a change in military movie casting.


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