We Told You Hollywood Has a Diversity Problem—Here Are the Numbers to Prove It

"There is an epidemic of invisibility in film for anyone who is not a white, straight male."

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Complex Original

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A new study shows that the most represented people in Hollywood are—surprise!—straight, white men. Though this isn't exactly news (related: see the EVERY SINGLE WORD SPOKEN BY A PERSON OF COLOR blog) the numbers are still a bit shocking. Titled "Inequality in 700 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race, & LGBT Status from 2007 to 2014," the study (conducted by USC's Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative and led by Dr. Stacy L. Smith) takes a look at 30,000 characters in 700 popular Hollywood movies. Smith has said that there is a "representational crisis," as can be seen in some of the graphs below :

From 2007–2014, women made up only 30.2% of all speaking characters in the top 100 films. Of the 100 top films in 2014, only 21 featured a female lead or co-lead, with only 3 being people of color and none over the age of 45. The graph above also shows that women are not only noticeably absent in action, adventure, and animation films, but that there's also an ageist issue—only 19.9% of middle-aged characters in 2014 were women.

Women behind the camera are even rarer: In 2014, only 1.9% of directors were women, with 11.2% women writers and 18.9% women producers. That means only two women directed movies from 2014's top 100, and 28 total between 2007–2014. 

A graph (below) shows that women, if represented, often only serve the purpose of eye candy. But it's not just a women's issue. It's a diversity in general issue. Of the top 100 films in 2014, 73.1% of the characters were white. The rest? 4.9% Hispanic, 12.5% black, 5.3% Asian, and 4.2% marked other. Seventeen movies from 2014 featured no black characters, and more than 40 had zero Asian representation. From 2014, only five of the hundred directors were black, and from the whole 700-film pool, only 19 of the directors were Asian (with a single Asian female co-director).

The study also points out unequal representation of LGBT individuals: Of the 4,610 speaking characters in last year's top films, only 19 were gay, lesbian, or bisexual, with no transgender characters. Even within LGB(sans T) representation, 63.2% were male, and 84.2% white.

Smith writes, "There is an epidemic of invisibility in film for anyone who is not a white, straight male." True, the numbers don't lie. Hollywood, find it in yourself to be more creative than that, please.

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