A new study has revealed that Hollywood still has a long way in its representation not just of women but also of LGBT groups, ethnic minorities and the disabled population. In a study of over 900 popular films between 2007 and 2016, the study found that in 2016, 31.4% of speaking characters were women. Non-white characters accounted for 29.1%, of which 5.7% were Asian. Black characters were a meagre 13.6%. It gets worse for Hispanic characters (3.1%), the disabled (2.7%) and the LGBT community (1.1%) in films from 2016. Literally, no speaking character was identified as a transgender person.
The study was commissioned by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and conducted by the think tank Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative. The films of 2011 were excluded to be part of a separate study.
The numbers were equally low for those behind the cameras. Only 4.2% of directors of films in 2016 were women, and none of them was black. Among directors, writers and producers who had worked on 2016’s top 100 films, 17.8% were women. “These findings reveal that the erasure of different groups is still acceptable to some – we need look no further than film to see a vision of America that no longer exists,” Stacy L Smith, who co-authored the study, told The Guardian newspaper.