The basic stats are:
72% of speaking character parts are male;
83.5% of crowd scenes are male;
83% of narrators are male.
The project worried that maybe things had improved over time and expanded their parameters to include that time element (I like it when research does this – time is a part of cultural dynamics): there had been no change. We have been seeing the same ratios of women to men on the big screen in the most popular films since at least 1990 and only 7% of the major films had equal number of male and female characters.
These are important cultural messages we're receiving. I don’t like them.
I do like the reasoning behind the project. The idea is that we learn to care about the stories of others. Entertainment is an important influence – anything that tells stories helps us learn how to tell stories ourselves and how to listen to them and how to value and interpret the stories of others.
I’m going to run the DAMN Feminist Index through some Aussie spec fic later in the year, I think. Anyone want to join me and find out what assumptions inform what we’re reading?