Moviegoers who have perceived the sexualization of younger and younger females onscreen in recent times are not imagining things. The proportion of 13-to-20-year-olds in sexy attire increased 22 per cent between 2009 and 2012. Between 2007 and 2012, there has been a 32.5 per cent increase in teenaged girls depicted with some nudity.
Those are among the findings in the latest study by the esteemed Dr. Stacy L. Smith and her team at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. The researchers examined 500 movies and more than 21,000 characters, looking at gender prevalence, demographic information and hypersexualization, from 2007 through 2012.
The Annenberg study is full of disturbing information. Last year, females represented a mere 28.4 per cent of speaking characters in the top 100 movies — the lowest percentage of females in the five years covered in the study — and of those who did make it onscreen, nearly a third were depicted in sexually revealing clothing.
Not surprisingly, women were under-represented behind the cameras, too. The study found that only about 4 per cent of directors of the top 100 films were women, 12 per cent of writers were female and 20 per cent of producers.
Considering the attention given to the inequities for women in film, and the fact that females were seeming to gain some ground in the industry two years ago, the findings came as a surprise even to the researchers, according to Dr. Smith.
We spoke to the professor briefly at last week’s book party for Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams (pictured above) at the hilltop Bel Air home of Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker. Movers and shakers from the film industry and medicine, community advocates and other illustrious guests were present for the event that began with a delicious garden luncheon by popular Australian foodie Georgie Smith (“Frugal but Fabulous”). Williams read from her inspiring memoir My Name is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl’s Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize and talked about her latest activities in fighting violence against women. She is also pushing hard for the banning of robotic weapons that can annihilate people without any human oversight. Williams was recognized with the 1997 Peace Prize for her role in the banning and clearing of land mines.
SPEAKING OF WOMEN IN ENTERTIANMENT: Alan Alda tells us he is working on a rewrite of his play about Marie Curie. In fact, “I’m always rewriting it, and making it a little better each time,” admits the multiple Emmy-winning star currently being seen as Laura Linney’s ascerbic oncologist on Showtime’s “The Big C.” He adds, “I hope it will be done a lot of places. It’s published by Samuel French, so theaters can pick up on it. She’s a hero of mine, so I want to see that play make the rounds. It’s fun to see that story, and moving to see her story.” How about a movie adaptation of Alda’s play, starring Laura Linney as pioneering physicist Madame Curie. Now that would be worth seeing.
HER HEART GOES OUT: “There is no better son – what a great guy,” says Marilu Henner, referring to her “The Glades” cast mate Corbin Bernsen, whose mother passed away last month. “He was on the phone with her the whole time we shot our first episode together. He was great.” Despite the fact that Henner and Bernsen have been friends for years, and he guested on her talk show, the two actors had never worked together before being cast as the parents of Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore) on A&E’s “The Glades” – which, by the way, saw a nice ratings bump in its seasonal premiere this week. “I’ll see him again when we go back to Miami. It’s a wonderful set,” adds Marilu. “Everybody is so nice.”
She says the same thing, by the way, about “Two and a Half Men,” on which she recently guested as sexy sexagenarian to whom Ashton Kutcher was attracted. “I just loved that, and I think he’s going to be great as Steve Jobs. He’s special, he really is,” she says.
CBS’s “Unforgettable,” in which she has a recurring role – and for which she serves as inspiration and guide, with her nearly-perfect powers of recall – returns in July.