From Wonder Woman to Captain Marvel, female leads have been taking more of the stage in modern cinema – but do men and women really take equal share of the spotlight?
To find out if men and women really take equal share of the spotlight, Kegel8 looked at the highest grossing films of the past decade, and removed the men from their respective film posters. The results really speak for themselves, with the majority showing the disparity between men and women.
Despite the rise of films with more female characters such as in Captain America, further research showed that on average, for every leading female there are 2.5 leading men.
Superhero franchises such as Iron Man, The Avengers and Batman prove no exception to gender bias, with Black Panther being the only superhero film with more than half of the leading roles played by women – but still having overall more male characters.
In 2018 alone, there were 117% more men than women, which interestingly is a higher disparity than in 2017 where there was only 75% more men than women. The year of The Avengers being released marked the start of the now popular ensemble superhero format. However, despite there being more room for female leads, that same year marked the most disparity in male to female leads, with there being 525% more male leads than female.
Children’s films are no better, with Toy Story only having three female roles (and not necessarily leading roles either) and Harry Potter only having the one prominent female lead role of Hermione Granger. Transformers and Avatar, two popular big budget films and franchises also lack female leads, and whilst having robots and aliens being the majority of your cast may be an excuse, there is definitely room for more females – humanoid or not.
The popular come back of Star Wars saw a female as the primary protagonist which is a first for the franchise, but surprisingly there are still a greater number of male characters than female in leading roles. Thankfully, women take up more than half of the leading roles in both Star Wars films, but this is still surprising considering the amount of opportunity for female casting in the Star Wars universe.