It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World: Portrayals of Female Characters in the Top Grossing U.S. Films of 2022
In 2022, 33% of films featured female protagonists, up 2 percentage points from 31% in 2021. Women comprised 38% of major characters, up 3 percentage points from 35% in 2021. Females accounted for 37% of all speaking characters, up 3 percentage points from 34% in 2021. 80% of films featured more male than female characters. Only 11% of films had more female than male characters, and 9% of films featured equal numbers of female and male characters. Female characters were younger than their male counterparts, diminishing in alarming numbers around the age of 40. Female characters in speaking roles experienced a precipitous drop from their 30s to their 40s. 36% of female characters were in their 30s but only 14% were in their 40s. The percentage of female characters in their 40s was actually lower in 2022 (14%) than in 2015 (20%). Regarding race and ethnicity, Black females comprised 21.6% of all major female characters in 2022, up from 16.4% in 2021. The percentage of major Latina characters declined from 12.8% in 2021 to 7.0% in 2022, and the percentage of major Asian and Asian American females declined from 10.0% in 2021 to 6.6% in 2022.