Male characters in films continued to heavily outnumber female characters in 2021
A hefty 85% of films featured more male than female characters, the study found. Male characters outnumbered females by almost two to one, and just 31% of films featured sole female protagonists.
Only 7% of films had more female than male characters, while 8% of films featured equal numbers of female and male characters.
Major female characters in 2021 dropped slightly from 2020, from 38% in 2020 to 35% of major characters last year.
Females made up 34% of all speaking characters, down from 36% in 2019, while sole female protagonists increased ever so slightly from 29% in the first year of the pandemic to 31% last year.
“Last year audiences saw almost two male characters for every female character, and although women protagonists led some of the most high-profile films including ‘Spencer,’ ‘Being the Ricardos’ and ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye,’ women comprised slightly less than one third of sole protagonists last year.”
Black females comprised 16.4% of major female characters, up from 13.2% in 2020. In 2021, 60.6% of female characters in speaking roles were white (down from 71.0% in 2020), 19.3% were Black (up from 16.9% in 2020),
As in previous years, female characters tended to be younger than their male counterparts and more likely to have a known marital status, while male characters were more likely to have an identifiable occupation
As far as age representation, the percentage of female characters experienced a precipitous drop from their 30s to their 40s (34% to 18%
Films with at least one woman director and/or writer were more likely than films with no women in these roles to feature higher percentages of females as protagonists, in major roles, and as speaking characters.
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