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Stacy Smith's Hollywood Discussion Uses Data to Analyze Big Screen Sexism

By: Joey Haar - Apr 20, 2017
References: youtube
Both historically and in the present day, Hollywood has hardly been a promising standard-bearer for ideas surrounding inclusion and equality, and social scientist Stacy Smith's Hollywood discussion uses data to demonstrate just how poorly the center of the American film world does in this regard. Specifically, she looks at how sexism makes its way into Hollywood films.

In studying movies, Smith and her team analyze the top 100 grossing films in the US each year, and they record each named and speaking character on screen. They then specifically track attributes like gender, sexuality, race, and whether the characters have disabilities. Unsurprisingly, her data show that females (and especially females of color, queer females, and females with disabilities) are grossly underrepresented.

All is not lost with the issue as she sees it, however. Further research found that by hiring female creators, the statistics get far more balance. Female directors are associated with more girls and women on screen, more stories revolving around women, and more stories with older women on screen. Implementing rules and systems for hiring females would thus help to solve what Smith sees as a global problem.