Author Topic: Hollywood oversexualizing young girls says new study  (Read 1178 times)


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Hollywood oversexualizing young girls says new study
« on: April 26, 2015, 10:07:45 PM »

Mari DeAngelis

Boston Film Examiner

A new study of women in Hollywoood movies just released by USC Annenberg researchers says that Hollywood continues to be a difficult place for women to find "on- and off-screen role models" and provides some troubling information about society’s sexualization of teenaged girls

In a survey of the top 100 grossing movies from 2008, researchers Stacy Smith and Marc Choueiti found that:

39.8% of female teen characters were seen in sexy clothing
30.1% were shown with exposed skin in the cleavage, midriff or upper thigh regions.
This is in contrast with the depictions of male teen characters in which just  about 7% were shown in sexy clothing, with about  10% showing skin.

“These findings are troubling given that repeated exposure to thin and sexy characters may contribute to negative effects in some female viewers,” Smith said. “Such portrayals solidify patterns of lookism in the entertainment industry.”

Hollywood’s focus on sexualizing women has not abated according to the study. In four out of six measures of sexuality-- from wearing sexy clothing to being referenced as attractive – female characters were much more likely than their male counterparts to be portrayed with “objectifying attributes” according to the study.

Women working behind the camera in Hollywood also face challenges

Though many in the film industry saw director Kathyrn Bigelow’s 2010 Best Dirctor Oscar Award for the “The Hurt Locker”, as a breakthrough for women directors, the reality appears to be less rosy.

 View trailer for The Hurt Locker

In fact, USC researchers found that conditions for women in a variety of  creative roles behind the camera are not nearly as good as they could be. They say that “for every woman that directed, wrote or produced a movie in 2008, there were nearly five men chosen for the same creative positions.”

However, the researchers say that they found some evidence that movies with women in creative production roles may give female actors more chances for work. For example, in movies with at least one female director, almost 45 of speaking characters were females as well. This is in comparison compared to almost 32 percent in all-male-directed films. A similar “gender boost” was observed in movies written by women.

Trends in new study show increases in movies with women directors

USC researchers also found a "substantial increase" in movies with at least one woman director, with 8% of 2008 films directed by women. This is an improvement over 2007, when barely 3% of films were directed by women. The study found that the proportion of female speaking characters in stories released by Hollywood studios also increased, climbing to 32.8% from 29.9%.

Hollywood “gender gap” decreasing but still “a long way to go” say USC researchers

Also, revealed in the recent USC Annenberg study is information about  the overall decrease in the gender gap in Hollywood  However, the report points out that “females still have a long way to go.” For example, in  2008, there were twice as many men in speaking roles than women.

“Females are still being marginalized and sexualized in popular film,” Smith said.  “While the higher percentage of females on screen in this sample of movies is a step in the right direction, gender equality for female actors and those working behind the camera is still nowhere in sight.”

For more information read the USC Annenberg study

SOURCE:  Background information from USC Annenberg study