Seeing is believing. That is, simply put, the reason behind this mammoth project by Hanah Anderson and Matt Daniels. They were frustrated by the lack of hard data to underpin the commonly heard criticism of Hollywood movies as being dominated by men (and by male characters). So they started keeping score. Anderson and Daniels gathered thousands of screenplays and tallied the number of words spoken by male and female characters. Their results were then turned into clear and engaging visualizations and published by The Pudding, an online magazine that specializes in visual essays on culturally relevant topics.
The results are as staggering as they were predictable. Yes, male characters have the lion’s share of the dialogue in most films. Yes, there is a clear bias towards younger actresses while male actors don’t age out of the film industry. This comes as no surprise to anyone – certainly not to Anderson and Daniels themselves – but to have it confirmed by such an amount of hard data, and to have it presented in such a graphically clear-cut way is eye-opening nonetheless. So make sure to browse their data visualizations and the interesting subsets they created such as the one on top grossing films or the breakdown by genre.