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Largest Script Gender Analysis Ever Gives Us The Numbers: Even In Movies About Women, Men Talk The Most

By Petr Knava | Miscellaneous | April 11, 2016 |

By Petr Knava | Miscellaneous | April 11, 2016 |

There’s been a lotta talk lately (again) about women.

Specifically about women in movies.

And that’s good. Talk is often the prelude to change. But you know what also helps? Numbers.

Well, the fine folks over at Polygraph have now given us some numbers. I will let their preamble speak for itself:

Lately, Hollywood has been taking so much shit for rampant sexism and racism. The prevailing theme: white men dominate movie roles.

But it’s all rhetoric and no data, which gets us nowhere in terms of having an informed discussion. How many movies are actually about men? What changes by genre, era, or box-office revenue? What circumstances generate more diversity?

To begin answering these questions, we Googled our way to 8,000 screenplays and matched each character’s lines to an actor. From there, we compiled the number of words spoken by male and female characters across roughly 2,000 films, arguably the largest undertaking of script analysis, ever.

This is where I would usually post some key conclusions from the study, as well as some insightful commentary, and maybe some choice graphs.

But I’m not gonna do that today.

It’s very tempting to do so, but I think instead for once I will err on the side of brevity. Besides, this is the internet, which means there will always be those who would either disagree with my reading of the data narrative, or who would accuse me of purposefully twisting it to suit an agenda.

(Yes, I’m aware of the headline above this post. I ain’t changing that. Go suck a lemon.)

So instead, here is that link again. Go read it for yourself. Play around with the interactive charts. Draw some conclusions.

(Then return here and let’s change the world together.)


Petr Knava plays music

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Petr is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.