Research finds sexualized perception of women in film industry

#ReWriteHerStory: The report by Plan International and Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media titled, ‘Rewrite Her Story: How film and media stereotypes affect the lives and leadership ambitions of girls and young women’, women leaders are frequently portrayed as sex objects and shown wearing revealing clothing or even nude on the big screen.

The world’s most popular films of Bollywood are sending the message to girls and young women that leadership is mostly for men.

The report finds that the world’s most popular films, especially Bollywood films, send out the message of leadership positions being male-dominated to girls and young women.

The research, undertaken as a part of Plan International’s global campaign ‘Get Girls Equal’ which stands for women to have equal power as men, and further, challenge and break stereotypes which limit their potential, analysed 56 top-grossing films of 2018 from 20 countries.

They found that of the characters in leadership positions, women and girls are four times more likely than men to be shown wearing revealing clothing (30 percent as compared to 7 percent); nearly twice as likely to be shown partially nude (15 percent as compared to 8 percent) and four times more likely to be shown completely nude (2 percent as compared to 0.5 percent).

Women leaders – be they presidents, CEOs or business owners – are far more likely to be portrayed as sex objects, shown in revealing clothing or even naked on the big screen. 

Here are some of the research’s findings:

The overall summary of characters in the 2018 top-grossing films analysed reflect the films’ producers rather than their audience: they are white, male and middle-class.

“The findings are not surprising when not one of the top 10 films in 20 countries in 2018 was directed by a woman, only a quarter of films had a woman producer, and only one in 10 had a woman on the writing team. A woman 007 or superhero in film is welcome. But our research shows they are exceptions and not the rule. The bigger picture is that gender discrimination and harmful stereotypes still dominate on screen. This undermines girls and young women and has a negative impact on their aspirations to leadership in all walks of life.” 

Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International

The CEO also believes that the world should fund more women leaders and their representation in media and stop the ‘sexualisation’ of women.“We need to fund more women leaders in media and entertainment to stop content being produced just for men’s pleasure. And we need to stop the sexualisation and the objectification of women and girls on screen and everywhere else.”

Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen,CEO of Plan International

Source: Geena Davis Institute

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