A recent study from the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California was released, covering the top 100 grossing films of 2008. It pointed out simple things like guys having 67% of the lead roles (Women 33%). The study further noted that 26% of the female roles were dressed provocatively, compared to only 5% of the male roles.
Partial nudity for women was at 24% and men 8%. The shocking news was the sexualization of teen girls, who were more likely to wear provocative clothing than other women ages 21 to 39. But what was more interesting was the number of companies taking cues from Hollywood and altering their clothing lines for little girls to look more sensual.
According to the Parents Television Council, 29% of the new children’s clothing lines have both sexualizing and childlike features. One manufacture is now designing dresses to create the look of breasts. Another designs its pants pockets to make the buttocks look more appealing. Skechers has a “Shape Up” brand of shoes that “helps women (teen girls) shape up their rears.”
What is difficult to understand is why women continue to purchase tickets or videos for movies that objectify women. Since the majority (about 90%) of DVD purchases are made by women, they could revolutionize the market by purchasing only programs that treat women with dignity. They could let their buying power change the way Hollywood produces films.
And what about Hollywood? They have a responsibility to protect our kids, yet they continue to push the envelope and hook them on sensuality, which sells. At a recent MTV Movie Awards show on June 5th, the f-word went un-bleeped, even though the producers knew the bulk of their audience were minors. The scene I’m referencing introduced the two female presenters. It started with a clip of them playing a mother and daughter kissing sensually. The presenters opened their talk with comments from the show about “f***ing” each other.
It’s time for a producer of wholesome and moral programs to come out with a great film starring a strong female lead that keeps things in perspective and doesn’t make women appear to be lower than men. And, when the film comes out, I hope that women buy it in droves to prove to Hollywood that women are more than sex objects that make adventurous guys look good. Let’s get the next top 100 films to clearly depict a healthy perspective of women.