Annenberg Continued

“Overall, the findings suggest that males and females are differentially valued in motion pictures.  Despite the fact that it is 2011, females are still far less important or esteemed than are males, particularly behind-the-camera.  When they are shown on screen, females are prized for provocative (or noticeably absent) attire, attributes of their physique, and prettiness.  This is also true of teenaged females.  The hypersexualized focus on teens is disquieting, given that exposure to objectifying media portrayals may contribute to negative effects in some young female viewers.  Such depictions may also affect young male consumers, by teaching and/or reinforcing that girls/women are to be valued for how they look rather than who they are.”

These somber words come from an addendum to the report I posted Friday that was just issued by the Women’s Media Center.

But sadly, when I posted the link to this data on the AWJ ListServ last week, less than 10 minutes later, someone fired back: “Doesn’t that [44.4% versus 31.7%] seem like a really small difference?”  Well, no, actually: the difference between 44.4% & 31.7% seems pretty big to me, but having been around this track many times already, I knew that the other shoe was about to drop.  And here it is:

“Not only are females lacking visibility in film, but they are often portrayed as pretty and dressed provocatively.  Clearly, it is not a surprise that alluring and attractive characters fill the silver screen.  The problem emerges, however, when this burden falls disproportionately on the shoulders of females.”

So the statistical difference merely represents the best case scenario, & an already bad picture becomes even more grim when researchers add in content analysis.  Furthermore, even the good news (such as it is) has a negative edge:

“Through the lens of this interpretation, female directors and writers may have substantially fewer options and less opportunity than their male counterparts to helm or pen a diverse range of stories across a variety of money making genres.  This lack of opportunity, in turn, may affect females’ earning potential.”

I honestly don’t know why more people aren’t alarmed by all of this.  It seems to me that mothers AND fathers of teenage girls AND teenage boys should be especially concerned.  But so far, it seems I’m primarily preaching to the already converted 🙁

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