Hollywood Films See Dramatic Rise in Teenage Nudity

Thursday, May 16, 2013
Spring Breakers

Movie-making has not gotten anymore progressive in recent years as far as its portrayal of women, especially young females, according to a new study (pdf) out of the University of Southern California.


After reviewing five years’ worth of films, professors from the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism concluded there was “a rise in the hypersexualization of teen girls in particular,” Associate Professor Stacy Smith wrote.


“Compared to women aged 20 to 39 and women over 40, teen girls are more likely to be shown in sexually revealing clothing or with some exposed skin in the mid-chest to high upper thigh region of the body,” Smith added.


In 2009, 30.5% of female characters aged 21-39 appeared at least partially nude. This percentage rose to 41.5% in 2010 and dropped back down to 39.6% in 2012. By contrast, the percentage of female characters aged 13-20 who appeared at least partially nude was 28.2% in 2009 and 33.0% in 2010, but jumped to 55.8% in 2012.


The same phenomenon was noted for female characters appearing in “sexy attire.” In 2009, the two age categories were almost the same: 33.5% for ages 21-39 and 33.8% for ages 13-20. Three years later, females in sexy attire aged 21-39 had risen to only 39.9%, while the 13-20 age group had skyrocketed to 56.6%.


The research also revealed that films released last year produced the lowest percentage of female characters across the years studied (2007-2010 and 2012).


Only 28% of the more than 4,000 characters on screen were female, and of those, more than 75% were under the age of 40.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

Gender Pro1gress in Popular Film? Paltry Numbers Suggest Problems Persist (by Stacy Smith, Huffington Post)

Gender Inequality in 500 Popular Films: Examining On-Screen Portrayals and Behind-the-Scenes Employment Patterns in Motion Pictures Released between 2007-2012 (by Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Marc Choueiti, Elizabeth Scofield, and Dr. Katherine Pieper; Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, University of Southern California) (pdf)

Moviemaking in America: It’s a Man’s World (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Leave a comment