Generally less central

Study comes up with the least surprising findings ever:

new study from the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering found that films were likely to contain fewer women and minority characters than white men, and when they did appear, these characters were portrayed in ways that reinforced stereotypes. And female characters, in particular, were generally less central to the plot.

No kidding. The vast majority of movies these days have literally only men in starring roles.

The study, conducted by the school’s Signal Analysis and Interpretation Lab, used artificial intelligence and machine learning to do a linguistic analysis of nearly 1,000 popular film scripts, mostly from the last several decades. Of the 7,000 characters studied, nearly 4,900 were men and just over 2,000 were women. And perhaps unsurprisingly, the male characters spoke far more than the female ones did, with 37,000 dialogues involving men and just 15,000 involving women.

Women are there to look hot, not to say stuff.

While previous studies examined how frequently characters of each gender spoke, the school’s researchers went further by analyzing what was actually said.

They found that the language used by female characters tended to be more positive, emotional and related to family values, while the language used by male characters was more closely linked to achievement. African-American characters were more likely to use swear words, and Latino characters were more apt to use words related to sexuality. Older characters, meanwhile, were more likely to discuss religion.

The researchers also looked at the “centrality” of each character by mapping his or her relationship to others in the film. They found that in most cases, when a female character was removed from the narrative, the plot was not significantly disrupted — except for in horror movies, in which women are often portrayed as victims.

It’s the same old thing. Women aren’t really people – they’re facsimiles, who can play the parts of people in a limited way, but they’re not people all the way through, with complicated thoughts and feelings. They don’t really matter. They don’t make anything happen. They’re not agents.

The study was one of two released recently by U.S.C. researchers that looked at diversity in film. The other, by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, found that in 900 films released from 2007 to 2016, the percentage of speaking characters who were women never climbed above 32.8 percent.

Because women, meh. They’re too boring to be allowed to speak much.

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