POSTED December 3 2012

Geena Davis, hero: “If she can see it, she can be it”

In this image, the male/female ratio is 2:1. In most Hollywood films the ratio is 3:1. Still, Geena Davis is a hero.

Trouble is, according to a recent study released by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media, girls and women are seeing themselves as sexualized and subservient.

By the Institute’s figures, males outnumber females on screen by three to one,  an asymmetry not exactly reflected in the accompanying image from the movie Hero.

“Females are not only missing from popular media, when they are on screen, they seem to be there merely for decoration,” conclude researchers Stacy L. Smith Marc Choueti, Ashley Prescott and Katherine Pieper.

The most troubling stats are found in Tables 4, 5 and 6. Tables 4 and 5 are  “appearance indicators” showing that when women are on screen, more than a third of females from 13 to 39 are sexualized by wearing provocative and revealing attire. (By contrast, only 8 percent of males on screen are comparably clad.)

Table 6 reflects the comparative power of male and female characters onscreen. In family films, executive positions are 96 % male characters 3 % of female. High-ranking politicians are 95 % male and 4 % female.(This, in a country where a third of the Supreme Court justices are women and 18 percent of Congress is female.)

When will reel life reflect real-life changes in the culture? Your thoughts about such asymmetrical representation?



  1. Debbie says:

    While there are some great aspects of third-wave feminism, the degree to which liberation is defined as including the freedom to be a sexual object is deeply troublesome. It means that young women are buying into these images: it’s a triumph not only of patriarchy but of capitalism. For a useful read, see: Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, by Ariel Levy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please prove you\'re not a robot: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.