2015 was seen by many as the year women finally broke through in Hollywood. Movies like The Hunger Games, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Pitch Perfect 2 proved that women could not only lead movies, but could rake in big bucks at the box office, too. A new study, which analyzed 2,000 screenplays by gender and age, throws cold water on the consensus and proves that sexism is still prevalent in Tinseltown.
Katniss might be in charge, but the men still dominate the screen 55 percent of the time. Even in romantic comedies, men speak more than women (58 to 42 percent). Mulan might be about one girl’s struggle to save China, but her protector dragon Mushu, voiced by Eddie Murphy, has 50 percent more lines than she does. In a tally of all Disney and Pixar films, 22 of 30 are male majority (one notable exception is last year’s Inside Out).
As actresses like Anne Hathaway have said, it becomes increasingly harder for women to get work in Hollywood once they hit 30. This study confirms Hollywood’s sexist ageism: 71 percent of male dialogue is spoken by actors between 32 and 65, with a slight advantage for those older than 42. For women, however, speaking roles are overwhelmingly available between 22 and 31, continue until 41, and then taper off once they hit their 40s.