Hollywood is a Dream Factory, but the Dream is not open to everyone. While there has always been a feeling that racial and gender inequality is prevalent in the movie industry, with roles and storylines catering to Straight, White Men, even when it comes to whitewashing characters, a major new study confirms that Hollywood is even less diverse than previously thought. Researchers at the University of Southern California collected seven years of data from 100 top-grossing movies between 2007 and 2014, and their report shows that in seven years of movies with over 30,000 speaking characters, less than a third of the roles were female; women were far more likely than men to be seen in states of undress or otherwise sexualized; and there were significantly fewer middle-aged roles for actresses.
The figures for race and ethnicity are similarly stark. In 2014, more than 70% of movie characters were White, 12.5% were Black, 5.3% were Asian, and 4.9% were Latino. Less than 1% were Native American or Native Hawaiian. And Aloha hadn’t even been released yet. The story is much the same behind the camera: 779 directors made 700 movies, and only 28 of those directors were women.