Hollywood Diversity Report Reveals a Grim, Obvious Reality for Women of Color


A Hollywood diversity report just released by USC’s Annenberg School of Media and Journalism notes that, among other things, Latinas and Black women are most likely to star in Hollywood films only when they are dressed in “sexy attire.”

The report, which spans inequality across “Gender, Race, and LGBT Status” in the top 100 films from 2014, pointed out that 30.6 percent of Latinas and 29 percent of Black women in movies with major roles are shown wearing sexualized clothing, as compared to 27.5 percent of White women and 25.7 percent of Asian women. Yet, in spite of the sexualization, only 9.7 percent of Latinas and 11.6 percent were referenced as “attractive.” Compare this to men, where Black men were more likely than any other race to be shown in “sexy attire” at 11.8 percent, compared to 1.4 percent of Asian men. In case you needed any proof: Hollywood is indeed reinforcing every gendered racial stereotype!

Some more fun statistics to whip out at your next dinner with the white male producer you’re trying to convince to option your film (or nominate you for an Academy Award):

A total of 21 of the 100 top films of 2014 featured a female lead or roughly equal co lead. This is similar to the percentage in 2007 (20%), but a 7% decrease from the 2013 sample (28%).
In 2014, no female actors over 45 years of age performed a lead or co lead role. Only three of the female actors in lead or co lead roles were from underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds.
No female leads or co leads were Lesbian or Bisexual characters.

These depressing numbers are even worse—almost nonexistent—for women in the director’s chair. In the 100 top-grossing films of 2014, only five were Black, and only one, Ava DuVernay (Selma), was a Black woman. There were zero Asian or Latino directors, man or woman. That is in part because there were only two woman directors total in the top-grossing films of 2014: DuVernay, and Angelina Jolie, for Unbroken. In the years between 2007 and 2014, only 28 women total worked as directors of the top-grossing 100 films in each year. All but DuVernay, Gina Prince-Blythewood (Beyond the Lights), Loveleen Tandan (co-director, Slumdog Millionaire), and Sanaa Hamri (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2) were white.

The full breakdown, with many more depressing numbers, can be read here.

Contact the author at [email protected].

Image via Open Road Films

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