Surprise, surprise: the representation of women in Hollywood movies is the absolute worst--and now we have empirical evidence.
"The response was disgusting," Daniels told The Huffington Post, "And we decided that talking about gender inclusivity through the Bechdel Test was far too politically-charged to generate any sort of discourse."
So, the team decided to tackle the subject of women on screen by researching the amount of lines and screen time women get in some of Hollywood's most popular films. This is the most extensive study on female dialogue to date -- the entire process of compiling the statistics took about six weeks.
"We found every screenplay repository on the Internet and downloaded about 8,000 scripts," Daniels explained. "From there, we matched those scripts to IMDB pages. We then broke down each script by every character's lines. Finally, we matched each characters to an actor on IMDB."
The process allowed them to compile a comprehensive overview of film dialogue from 2,000 screenplays, broken down by gender and age. The research turned up some pretty bleak stats. For instance, 22 of 30 Disney films (including Pixar) have a majority of male dialogue. Romantic comedies with female leads like "Pretty Woman" and "10 Things I Hate About You" tended to, on average, have dialogue that was around 58% male.
Some other interesting/disappointing findings included:
Men speak more often than women in Disney’s animated films.
The majority of dialogue in live-action scripts came from men.
There are fewer women in lead roles than men in Hollywood blockbusters.
90 percent of dialogue in all the films studied was male.
Women over 40 get less screen time, while men over 40 get more.
"Honestly, the most surprising finding was that no one had done this," Daniels said of the study.
"We all talk about poor representation in film, but everyone seemed perfectly content with relying on anecdotes rather than data."
The Polygraph study is just the tip of the iceberg. With a special interactive search feature, Daniels and Anderson have created a system that will allow film lovers to learn about how characters speak in film, how they're introduced, their race, ages, gender, and so much more.
To check out the interactive feature, go to Polygraph.cool.