Feminist film critics have long pointed to the lack of representation in movies. The most obvious pop culture touchstone for this is the Bechdel Test, which merely assesses whether two women engage in dialogue at all throughout the course of a film. Now, a new study which analyzes 2,000 movie scripts statistically breaks down just how little women actually talk on the big screen.
Released on Polygraph.cool with fascinating interactive data, the study begins with analysis of Disney films, which despite often focusing on princesses, barely features female voices:
From there, it's easy to scroll through films by genre, with each specific film being given a breakdown of percentage of speech by (gendered) characters. Unsurprisingly, horror films and romantic comedies, which both have long traditions of female leads, show the most gender parity: but even slashers and chick flicks are still dominated by men.
Some other things noticeable from the study:
1) Almost no movies feature female-only dialogue, while plenty of films have lines only spoken by men.
2) Movies with female leads (Mulan is cited as an example) still have men talking more than women.
3) Age also plays a factor. Men aged 42 to 65 have the most lines of all:
Here's what the researchers for the study had to say: "Across thousands of films in our dataset, it was hard to find a subset that didn’t over-index male ... This project was born out of the less-than-stellar response to our analysis of films that fail the Bechdel Test. Commenters were quick to point out that the Bechdel Test is flawed and there are justifiable reasons for films to fail (e.g., they are historic). By measuring dialogue, we have much more objective view of gender in film ... Many of the findings are anecdotally obvious to women in the film industry. But nobody wanted to do the grunt work of gathering the data."
It's worth taking a look at the full study, over here.