With the success of movies like Moonlight, it’s easy to think that perhaps things are slowly getting better for gay representation in Hollywood. However, according to a new in-depth study by Professor Stacy L. Smith and the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative at the University Of Southern California (USC), there’s been little change for the representation of women, ethnic minorities or LGBT characters in the past decade.
Deadline reports that Smith ‘examined the 900 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2016 (excluding 2011), analyzing 39,788 characters for gender, race/ethnicity, LGBT status and disability. The top 100 grossers of 2016 were included in the analysis.’
Her findings were that in 2016 a little under a third of characters were female, with a similar proportion of non-white characters. Meanwhile, just 2.7% of characters in top movies were disabled. It showed no meaningful change from 2007.
Things were even worse for LGBT characters, as despite a significant change in social attitudes and increased awareness, just 1.1% of characters in the top 100 films of 2016. Of those movies, only one had a gay lead character (Moonlight), and three-quarters of the top movies had no indentifiably LGBT characters at all. And not a single one of those films had a trans character. Even in those movies that did have an LGB character, more than half of those people were completely inconsequential.
Overall the report demonstrates Hollywood as a pretty stagnant world, where 95% of movies are directed by men, while a similar percentage are also white. Out of all 900 films sampled from 2007-2016, only three were directed by black women. With little progress for most under-represented groups across the past decade, it’s not exactly a hopeful picture.