Side Note

Surprise! Hollywood still lacks diversity

The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California has been a leading institution in the fight for a more equitable Hollywood, particularly in its promotion of adopting inclusion riders in the film industry. Today, the Initiative has released a new report on how the pursuit of equity in filmmaking is going. Let’s just say things aren’t progressing along as quickly as many of us might hope.

The authors of “Inequality in 1,100 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race/Ethnicity, LGBT & Disability from 2007 to 2017” analyzed the top 100 box office films of each of the last 11 years, and found that women are still sorely underrepresented in front of and behind the camera. No more than 32.8 percent of speaking characters over those years were women, with action and adventure films featuring women the least. Additionally, female actors are still more likely than men to be sexualized in some way through nudity or sexy attire. When it comes to race, the report states that 70 percent of the characters in these films were white, and while the number of LGBT characters has increased, they are still majority white. Same goes for still underrepresented characters with disabilities, as only 2.5 percent of speaking characters in the films were depicted with them.

On the production side, things aren’t much better. Only 43 directors of the 1,100 films studied were women, who are also underrepresented when it comes to writing, producing, and composing. (And of those 1,100 films, only 5.5 percent of directors were black, while only 3.1 percent were Asian.) Talk about bleak.

With so much talk of diversity and representation in entertainment, it’s easy to think that our movies are getting more and more diverse. However, this new study has the numbers to show there’s still, a lot to be done to make Hollywood a more equitable and welcoming industry.