Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Still Showing: Sex Sells

While it is true that both men and women in general go to the movies to be entertained, it is equally true that in the search for entertainment there are some amount of gender and racial dynamics at play. Over the years much have been said and written about how Hollywood portrays women as sexual objects in movies for the sexual gratification of men. We tend to ignore the fact that the sexualisation of men in movies and film have worsen over the years.  According to data from the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, since 2007 the hypersexualisation of men on film has increased. In 2014, 8 percent of male characters were cast in sexualized attire up from 4.6 percent in 2007.  The Annenberg Report also found that there has been an increase in male nudity scenes.
We live and operate in world where sex sells and this age old saying is so true in the world of entertainment. Many women are attracted to strong male characters. Many women are also attracted to male characters who are scantily clad. The recently released Hollywood blockbuster movie Batman versus Superman sees both leading characters in tight fitting costumes  which undoubtedly has been a major pulling card for movie goers especially women.
Notwithstanding this women still face ageism and sexism in Hollywood. Additionally, female actors are still required more than males to expose more of their body parts on cameras.  Gender disparity is alive and well in Hollywood as females continue to be underrepresented behind the camera.  According to data from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media across 1,565 content creators, only 7% of directors, 13% of writers, and 20% of producers are female. This translates to 4.8 males working behind-the-scenes to every one female.
The roles for minority actors are usually stereotyped and are not as widely available as roles for other ethnic groups. African Americans are usually cast to play supporting roles of a domestic type on a plantation somewhere serving white folks. Where are the black super heroes?
According to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, messages that devalue and diminish female characters are still rampant in family films.  Clearly more research and advocacy are needed to dismantle gender biases in Hollywood. 
While we should not rush to shed tears for the sexualized male character we need to have an honest discussion on how Hollywood select characters for the sake of raking in big bucks.
#sexuality #Hollywood #gender #movies
Wayne Campbell