Madeline Di Nonno
MALE BIAS UNCHANGED IN TEN YEARS
The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and J. Walter Thompson yesterday presented landmark findings about the way women are represented in advertising.
Analysing more than 2000 films from 10 years’ worth of Cannes Lions Film and Film Craft winners and shortlists, their research revealed that female presence and portrayal in ads has not changed over a decade. Despite intensive campaigning on the subject, men get about four times as much screen time as women and speak about seven times more than women.
Digging deeper, the research, conducted in partnership with the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering, also found that male characters are far more diverse than female when it comes to age; that men are almost twice as likely to be funny than women and that one in ten female characters are shown in sexually revealing clothing — six times the number of male characters. Brent Choi, chief creative officer, JWT New York said: “What this research shows is that our industry has tent-pole moments when we rally around women, but when it comes to creating our ‘regular’ ads for our ‘regular’ clients, we forget about them.”
Choi added: “I don’t think brands are scared (of change). But it is tougher for certain categories, especially when they are heavily relying on research based on best practices and norms. I think brands and agencies have not necessarily realised the scale of the issue, but now we need to ask ourselves if we want to simply represent the world we live in or if we want to advance it.”
Madeline Di Nonno, Geena Davis Institute CEO added: “The Institute found in its global research that when there is a female scriptwriter there is a 7.5% increase of onscreen female character and when there is a female director, it’s a 6.8% increase. By changing the narrative, the images we use, the stories we tell about women, we can change the way the world values women and how women and girls see themselves.”