I attended the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media annual symposium last week (again, for I AM THAT GIRL–the club I run at Scripps). At the symposium they unveiled the research they have been conducting for the last two years. The USC study found that women *still* only have roughly 20% of screen time. Even crowd shots that are meant to show a group of people representative of the world feature less than 20% women. Their fear is that when girls are watching this content, especially when they are young, they will grow up with a false impression that women make up only 20% of the world. For example, only 20% of the workforce on screen is women, yet the workforce is comprised of 50% women in real life. They worry that because women are not shown in high power positions in the workforce in film (not to mention that when they are shown in high power positions they are often vilainized) they will not feel like they can or should reach for high power positions in real life.
Perhaps one really large gap I saw in their research was their failure to take into count the intersectionality of representation on screen. For example, they provided a few examples of how representation of girls in children’s programming is changing in really groundbreaking ways. Yet, the examples the provided are all of white women. Perhaps one of the most important parts of the third wave of feminism is the final acknowledgement of the intersectionality of women in the movement. I really hope that in the future, they take the next step towards acknowledging that misrepresentation of women is detrimental ALL women–not just white, able bodied women.
I will bring the program and research packet to class on monday for anyone who’s interested!